There’s almost nothing that we love better than dreaming up ways to celebrate Jewish holidays and honor traditions. All done with style and design in mind! This year I was inspired by Simanim, the symbolic foods eaten on Rosh Hashanah. They are a symbol of our hopes and dreams for a sweet New Year. Specific foods are eaten because the Hebrew names for those foods are related to other Hebrew words that have special meaning and wishes for Rosh Hashanah. Popular foods include leeks, pomegranate, gourds, dates, black eyed peas, apples and honey, beets, carrots, and fish.
Each of the foods has a specific and heartfelt prayer that is said before tasting it. There’s something meaningful about this ritual and our family always turns it into a word association game. It’s so much fun! It’s also an ice breaker if you have a friend that might not know everyone else. I love to add something new to the table each year and to say the Shehechiyanu. It’s a way to represent a new beginning of the year and really sets the tone for the holiday meal.
Honoring the holiday with Simanim is not only a mitzvah, but a way to keep the conversation interesting and entertaining! As each food is presented, there is always chatter and something being shared. It’s a time when the little ones can participate and be an active part of the holiday. We’ve had some of our most lively dinners on Rosh Hashanah and everyone gets excited.
As expectations for a stylish table are increased with every passing holiday, the pressure was on to create something truly unique. I started to think about where the fruits and vegetables came from and to incorporate it into the table design. Having a farm theme seemed like the perfect solution. Each item has so much color and texture. It also feels like fall and the start of not only a new year, but a new season. Also, because this is for a lunchtime gathering, the relaxed vibe felt perfect for the occasion.
The idea was to represent all of the foods related to the Simanim on the table in a farm style. I wanted it to feel very crafty and natural. I did this by using craft paper, vegetable paper placemats, and farm style napkins.
I also incorporated our Apeloig Collection Wood Challah Board, which is perfect for this theme and elevates the rustic vibe. I used the Apeloig Collection Oil Menorah as a display. In addition to flowers, I used carrots, raw dates and other greens. The look came out exactly as I had envisioned it! I think that the raw dates make a nice statement and are visually interesting. You’ll also notice that we used small crates as displays too.
If you’re looking at the round challahs and are thinking that they look extra yummy. You’d be right and we have the Miami Foot Yenta to thank. Check out @Miamifoodyenta who we like to think is one of our favorite yentas for Kosher food in South Florida. Using the traditional Rosh Hashanah round form, which is symbolic of the year being round, she decorated them with seeds and crystalized honey. Delicious!
It’s also nice to print out a Simanim card so that everyone can follow along. I love how this version is designed with the theme in mind and carries through the farm feeling. Each item has the prayer written underneath it, so it’s easy for everyone to participate. You can download this same version from our website.
And speaking of participation, it’s one of the reasons why we love the Kiddush Wine Fountain so much. Not only is it a magical experience to see the wine flow from the Kiddush cup, down the canals to the awaiting cups below, but everyone can have their own cup and participate in the blessing.
Be sure to share your holiday table inspiration with us! Happy New Year!