Lest you think I’m some sort of expert, I’m not. Don’t believe me? Here’s the proof:
Thanks to my new Jewish friend Carly, not only did I know when Rosh Hashanah was, I actually had plans for it this year other than dipping some apples in honey at my desk at work! She very generously invited me to join her parents (who were visiting from Nashville for the Holiday!) and her boyfriend’s family for Rosh Hashanah dinner on Sunday night. It was quite the crowd – Carly, her parents, her boyfriend Ben, his parents, his two brothers and future sister-in-law, and….me! Despite it being a family affair, they all made me feel so welcome and right at home.
This was Carly’s first time hosting Rosh Hashanah dinner at her own home (one that she shares with her boyfriend), and it was quite the celebration! The table was set for the ten of us beautifully. I felt like I was attending a meal hosted by our temple friends back in Cleveland! I know she made her mother very proud 🙂 Although Carly is Jewish, Ben and his family are not (remember my post on JDate? ‘Nuf said.). As someone who grew up as “the only kid in town without a Christmas tree”, I completely get what it’s like to be a Jew in a Christian world. Ever since I was young, I’ve chosen to embrace this difference and educate my non-Jewish friends as much as possible (see this and this). Carly appears to share this philosophy, and made it her mission to educate Ben and his family on the Holiday and its customs. She even went so far as to create a two-page guide (ignore the blue tint)! I love it!
I knew I was in the presence of a real Jewish family when the feast began. There was SO MUCH FOOD. Carly and her Mom made an entire spread of Jewish foods! We started with an appetizer of crostini with goat cheese, apples, honey, and pomegranate seeds, symbolizing a sweet new year, and enjoyed some Challah courtesty of Katzinger’s Deli in German Village – yum! We were then served some homemade chicken matzo ball soup, minus the matzo balls (technical cooking difficulties), which was so flavorful.
The main course consisted of the following: honey mustard chicken, noodle kugel (a traditional jewish dish), roasted potatoes, salad, and my personal favorite – brisket! There was so. much. food. Had to show the non-Jews what Judaism is really all about: food!
We all left stuffed and happy and ready for bed! It was such a fun evening – Carly and Ben’s families are so warm and welcoming and fun. I felt right at home! Thanks, Carly, for looking out for your sort-of-Jewish friend 🙂
As I wrote in last year’s Rosh Hashanah post, I love that the Jewish New Year is in early fall. It always feels like the start of something new – a new school year, new cozy fall clothes, the change in leaves. And this year, a new job! I can’t think of a better way to start year 5776 than with a refreshing, challenging, and somewhat terrifying career change. Today is my last day of “staycation“, and although I’ve very much enjoyed my time off, it’s time to start earning a paycheck again.
L’Shanah Tovah! Here’s to a sweet new year.