ROSH HASHANAH AROUND THE WORLD
The Abayudaya Jews of Uganda
Apples and Honey|
By Rabbi Ruth Abusch-Magder
Be'chol Lashon Rabbi-in-Residence
At the foundation of the Rosh Hashana table are round and sweet foods. Today, the Eastern European custom of apples and honey have become ubiquitous, overshadowing the Mizrachi tradition of dipping challah in honey or the Spanish-Portuguese tradition of dipping challah in a sugary apple compote. Nonetheless, these simple foods can easily be turned into a celebration of our diversity. Make them a centerpiece of your meal. Bring together as many types and sizes of apples that you can find. Similarly, gather several types of honey, a comb, those made from different flowers, those from different countries or regions.
With children, talk about how both the apples and the honeys are sweet and yet they are entirely different one from the other, even those that are supposedly the same vary in the way that we experience them; so too people may look different and interact differently but they are sweet in their difference, worthy of celebration and add to our joy. On the adult level, try and imagine the people in your life, those that you love, and those that present challenges for you. Just as you donít love all the apple in the same way, consider how you might be able to find sweetness in the diversity of personalities in your life. Make a commitment for the period between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur to work on that appreciation.
Rosh Hashana in Uganda
By Rabbi Gershom Sizomo
Leader of the Abayudaya Jews of Uganda
Like Jews in communities around the world, Jews in Uganda celebrate with joy the opportunity for renewal at the New Year. People dress in white to symbolize the cleansing newness of the holiday. Men, women and children are encouraged to blow the Shofar. In addition to coming together for prayer, the community celebrates by sharing a feast. Unlike the daily diet, the holiday diet features meat.
Most often chicken or sometimes goat is stewed together with tomatoes and onions, served over served with rice and matoke (mashed plantains.) Apples are not readily available in Uganda and those that are imported are prohibitively expensive. A few are cut up and shared symbolically, with rounds of bananas standing in as the more commonly eaten sweet, circular treat. Eclipsed entirely by the sugar production that is a mainstay of the Ugandan economy, honey is not a focus of the holiday and is used, like the apples only symbolically.
Share your Rosh Hashanah traditions...