You are a proud Jew. You want your guests to be catered to. To be sure, you want to have all of the food and preparation tools to prepare and share a delightful meal, at this most auspicious time of the year.
Passover is a time for spending time with family and sharing a grand meal that is accompanied by a powerful story of the birth of the Jewish nation, upon a people’s journey from slavery to freedom. What, then, makes Rosh Hashanah, the so called Jewish New Year or the Head of the Jewish Year so important?
Rosh Hashanah has unique traditions, such as eating a blessing a new fruit, release of vows, dipping apples in honey, along with dipping challah or so called egg bread into hone, along with eating a traditional holiday meal. But there is more, much more, some Jews have a tradition of eating the head of a fish or the head of sheep on the first night of Rosh Hashanah. This idea is connected with the belief that a Jew should strive to be ‘head and not a tail’, in one’s interpersonal interactions. There is also Taschlich or Tashlikh, which is roughly translated as the throwing away or casting away of one’s sins. There is also the requirement to hear the shofar or rams horn sounded. Not to mention the extremely long prayer services. Finally one will aim to request forgiveness and to grant forgiveness to as many people as possible.
How can one be a good Jew and keep up with all that is required to be fulfilled on Rosh Hashanah and get all of the supplies necessary, at the right time?
There are Kosher bakeries, Kosher deli counters and Kosher prepared food counters to help one on the way to starting off the Jewish New Year in a grand and exquisitely Kosher way. Some Kosher bakeries will open as early as 5:30 am on the day of the eve of Rosh Hashanah to allow Jewish people to buy crown challah, which is most popular at this time of year, when G-d is crowned as King of the world. Gift baskets are arrayed with so called ‘apple cookies’, which are shaped to look like apples and come in various colors; yellow, red and green, along with honey and gift cards, all placed into transparent wrap or see through containers and wrapped with a ribbon bow. Other delicacies, are also in ample supply. Specialty desserts, such as Napoleons and Eclairs are most popular at this time of year.
Kosher food counters are also fully stocked with prepared foods, such as sweet apple kugel, potato kugel and a vast array of prepared stir fried beef and chicken Chinese-styled food. Meat loaf, kishka and cholent are ready made and prepared ready to serve in portion sized containers.
There is no shortage of baked or prepared Kosher foods. But in Toronto, special orders for Rosh Hashanah are generally not acceptable, at popular Kosher bakeries or Kosher prepared food counters. I am not sure why this practice of not accepting pre-Rosh Hashanah orders has been implemented. Perhaps it is due to the potential for cancellation, by customers, at the last minute, thereby leaving the store with unwanted inventory or inventory in proportions that it does not want to divide to be sold to other customers. There is surely no shortage of Pas Yisroel or Kosher grain or Kosher beef or Kosher chicken or Kosher sheep, among other Kosher animals that are certainly in ample supply, especially before Jewish holidays.
It is not possible to pre-order challah or other baked goods, unless one makes a massive order of at least twelve challahs. Unusual, as it is, the price of baked goods does not increase at this time of year. But sales of goods made with dough, spelt and rye are sold in mass quantities. No chance of any loss for the Kosher bakeries, due to possible cancellations at this time of year.
Perhaps the best strategy is to pre-order your order for the week before Rosh Hashanah for baked goods and prepared foods and freeze the purchased items. This way one can easily defrost their foods on the day before or on the eve of Rosh Hashanah. Or you can go ‘big time’ and make major orders as part of a group. Order your baked goods en masse with other families to meet the minimum order threshold.
Alternatively for orders of prepared foods, you can order from Kosher caterers and request delivery on the day before on the eve of Rosh Hashanah. Kosher Caterers that may receive a lower quantity of orders, during the regular year, will eagerly welcome holiday orders, especially to make a great name for their business for the coming year, the Jewish community.