Holidays in Our Community
What are the High Holy Days?
The Jewish New Year, also celebrates the creation of the world. Rosh Hashanah initiates the High Holy Days, and is celebrated for two days beginning at sundown. This holiday is celebrated by eating apples, honey and other sweet foods symbolizing a sweet new year, the blowing of the shofar (rams horn), and being with family. In some traditions, a new kind of fruit is eaten on the second night as a symbol of the newness of the year. See below for a guide to shopping around town for Rosh Hashanah!
Known as the Day of Atonement, this day is the holiest day of the year, the day on which we are closest to G-d and to the essence of our souls. In the period of time between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, we are encouraged to contemplate our actions over the past year and seek forgiveness for our mistakes from our fellow humans, from ourselves, and from G-d. This holy day is commemorated by fasting and atoning to G-d, and each other, for our sins.
Check out the links below to all of the Wake County congregations for information about High Holy Day services. Check out our Celebrating with Kids section for more details.
Celebrating with Kids
We have put together some resources for celebrating these important holidays with the younger members of your family. We have some fun songs to sing, suggestions for activities to engage them in the meaning of the holidays, and some guides to specifically kid-friendly services (as well as child care for during services).
High Holy Days Youth Programming
Beth Meyer Synagogue - Refer to pages 17-19 for specific Youth Programs and Childcare
Chabad of Cary - Check out the High Holidays Schedule for Children’s Programming
Temple Beth Or - Check out the calendar for youth-specific offerings and babysitting during services
Holiday Food Guide
We know finding all your favorite Jewish holiday and Kosher foods in the Triangle area can present some challenges. So we have put together a small guide for you with some ideas for where you can find what you need for your Rosh Hashanah dinners and your pre- and post- Yom Kippur fasting meals. We have also included some additional resources to consider mixing up your regular High Holy Days food traditions, and perhaps create some new ones!
Harris Teeter - Has a small Kosher section in the International aisle. The manager at the store we called said they expect it will grow slightly, closer to the holidays. Check with your local store for more details.
Publix - Has a small selection of Kosher wines, meats, and baked goods that will be expanded for the holidays. The North Raleigh location (9640 Leesville Road) has a larger Kosher selection. Check with your local store for more details.
Sprouts - The manager we spoke to is expecting a shipment of Kosher foods to come in soon—in time for the holidays—including wine, bread and meat. We recommend calling ahead to confirm.
Trader Joe’s - Typically has Kosher chicken all year long, and often has Kosher beef options, along with a host of hekeshered prepared foods and ingredients. As with the other stores on this list, they expect to expand their offering some in time for the holiday, including a few Kosher wine options. Check with your local store for more details.
Wegmans - We’re as excited as the next person to see Wegmans open in Raleigh - which they do on September 29th at 7:00 am (not that we’re counting the days or anything). We don’t know exactly what they’ll have, which will make planning ahead for Rosh Hashanah a challenge, but they are worth checking out for some last-minute goodies, or for Yom Kippur pre- and post- fasting options.
Whole Foods - Typically has Kosher ground turkey and a couple of Kosher wines. As with the other stores on this list, the manager we spoke to anticipates they will have a few more items for the holidays, including round challah! Check with your local store for more details.
In addition to the (often limited) selections mentioned above, here are a few more resources specifically for Kosher meats.
Grow and Behold - Grass fed / pastured meat and poultry from small-scale farms. Order online and they deliver directly to your home. (P.S. their beef “bacon” is seriously worth the splurge…it’s the High Holy Days after all!)
Griller’s Pride - Order online for delivery every 6 weeks to Congregation Sha’arei in North Raleigh. The next delivery is due September 22nd, just in time for Rosh Hashanah, but you should get your orders in soon to make the cut-off!
Knish-a-licious - Small-batch, local, hand made, truly delicious knishes (say that 5 times fast), these puppies sell out quickly, so reach out ASAP to get your High Holy Days order in!
Apples & Honey - We encourage you to visit the State Farmer’s Market, or any of the smaller city farmer’s markets, to buy your apples and honey locally. Check out honey vendors like Bee Blessed and Keller Bee Yard, and fruit-stands featuring local apples like Sugarloaf Orchards, PeeDee Orchards and Whitfield Farms, among others. If you grew up, like many of us did, on the honey from a plastic bear and one of 3 kinds of apples (you know: the red, the yellow and the green kinds), you are in for a real treat! Honey and apples come in many varieties, and this is the perfect opportunity to try some new ones. We would even recommend putting out an apple and honey bar at your Rosh Hashanah celebration with a few flavors of honey and an assortment of different types of apples, and encourage your family and friends to find their favorite pairing!
Wine - In addition to the (again, often limited) selections of Kosher wines listed above, we encourage you to keep shopping local and check out the Raleigh Wine Shop. Owner Seth was just telling us about the tasting he was doing with his suppliers to bring in some truly fine Kosher wine selections, and we can’t wait to see what he selected (did we say see, we meant taste)!
Challah - Traditionally, the challah eaten at Rosh Hashanah is round, rather than the more common braided loaf shape, symbolizing the continuing cycle of the seasons through the year. Our sources indicate that BJ’s, Whole Foods and NY Bagel & Deli will all have round challah for your holiday table. You can also order challah (and other scrumptious baked goods) from the Levin JCC.
Make Your Own Apple Cobbler - Sign up for this tasty take-and-bake class at the Raleigh-Cary JCC with instructor Rondi Goodman, pastry chef at Irregardless Café.
Deliver Rosh Hashanah Mitzvah Meals - JFS coordinates and provides kosher-style catered meals to those in need during the holidays. While we would certainly encourage you to volunteer with JFS all year long, this is a great time to start! And if you are home-bound, isolated or facing financial/food insecurity, JFS is here to provide the Jewish connection—to confidentially request a meal, click here.
Host or Attend a Rosh Hashanah Event at a Senior Community - Every year, hundreds of local seniors enjoy bringing in the Jewish New Year through the JFS Holiday Outreach Program. Through this program JFS volunteers facilitate Rosh Hashanah events for residents, encouraging all to participate and celebrate. To find an upcoming event, click here. To become a volunteer and lead an event, click here.
Host a Rosh Hashanah Seder - Until recently, most of the attention on Jewish foods and traditions in the U.S. has been focused on Ashkenazi (Eastern European) Jewish food-ways. But as we know, Jewish people have landed all over the world through the diaspora, and have evolved a variety of regional traditions. One such is the Sephardic (Mediterranean) Jewish tradition of the Rosh Hashanah Seder. A host of different foods, beyond apples and honey, are eaten for their symbolic meanings (as well as their delicious flavors). While this is by no means an exhaustive list, we encourage you to check out a few of the following resources to learn more about this beautiful tradition and consider incorporating it into your Rosh Hashanah celebrations: The Rosh Hashanah Seder Cookbook (bonus, proceeds from the sale of this collection of recipes and stories goes to the Reform Jewish Community of Madrid’s efforts to establish a permanent home); this article from My Jewish Living provides a great introduction to the tradition; here is a link to a lovely downloadable PDF Rosh Hashanah Seder Haggadah from the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation; a fun article (with links to recipes) from Epicurious.