Preparing for the High Holy Days

It isn't too late to get help before Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur arrive.

As Rosh Hashanah rapidly approaches, area residents and synagogues are preparing services for the new year.


At , tickets for these special services are available in limited quantities for non-members. You can download an order form here or reach out to the synagogue's office via phone (769-2672) or e-mail (mgray@shalompcs.com).

In Briarcliff Manor, is holding its first Rosh Hashanah service at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday. There are children's and evening services offered on day one and two of Rosh Hashanah at the synagogue. You can view the full high holiday schedule here.

Food and Cooking

For anyone who isn't finished shopping or cooking for the High Holy Days, help is available ranging from easy recipes to pick-up/take-home package deals. 

The Jewish High Holy Days are Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year), which begins at sundown on Wednesday, Sept. 28 and Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement), which ends with dinner at sundown on Saturday, Oct. 8.

Complete packages to take home

Fairway in Pelham Manor offers complete diners packaged to go for both holidays plus a large range of traditional High Holy Day choices. Descriptions of its deals for ten people follow.

Fairway's Rosh Hashanah Dinner for ten ($155)

  • Matzoh ball soup
  • Gefilte fish with red horseradish
  • Chopped liver
  • Braised beef brisket with gravy
  • Potato pancakes with home-made applesauce or rosemary-roasted potatoes
  • Green beans with shallots or spinach with Shitake mushrooms
  • Vegetable tzimmes
  • Round challah, plain or raison 
  • Chocolate babka

Note 1. No substitutions

Fairway's Yom Kippur Break-Fast for ten ($260)

  • Smoked fish platter with sturgeon (small)
  • Smoked salmon platter
  • Mini bagels (four dozen, assorted)
  • Pumpernickel or seeded rye bread
  • Cream cheese trio (plain, scallion, vegetable)
  • Tuna salad (one pound)
  • Egg salad (one pound)
  • Whitefish salad (one pound)
  • Round challah
  • Fresh fruit platter (large)
  • Chocolate babka
  • Choice of sponge cakes 

Note 1. No substitutions

Recipes for traditional High Holy Day cooking

A favorite of Neil Baim at Comfort Restaurant in Hastings on Hudson for Rosh Hashanah is his late mom Rose's mandel-bread (aka mandelbrot) recipe. "It uses chocolate chips to represent a sweet year ahead," he said."Usually, her recipe calls for only slivered almonds with no chocolate chips, but for the New Year, she always cooked food that is sweet in nature for the year ahead. This included making an especially sweet dessert."

Rose's Mandel Bread

  • 2-3/4 cups sifted all purpose flour
  • 4 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 6 tablespoons of Canola or Safflower oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup of orange juice
  • 1/3 cup of slivered blanched almonds
  • 1/3 cup of chocolate chips

Mix and sift flower, baking powder and salt. Beat eggs and sugar together until light. Add remaining ingredients except for the chocolate chips and blend well. The dough should be soft.

Sprinkle the chocolate chips in the soft dough and mix with floured hands. Then, with floured hands, make two long loaves about 3 inches wide and 3/4 inch high on a well flowered board. Bake in long narrow pans or on greased cookie sheets in moderate oven (350 degrees) until lightly browned, between 40 and 50 minutes.

While still warm, cut into 1/2 inch slices and return to oven to toast until browned, or brown quickly under broiler flame. Should yield about 30 pieces.

Here are some more easy-to-use recipes for the holidays including one for chopped salad fromTaiim Falafel Shack in Hastings on Hudson:

The Taiim Falafel Shack recipe for Israeli chopped salad

  • 1 seedless cucumber, peeled and diced
  • 4 plum tomatoes, diced
  • 1 bunch of scallions (white and light green parts only), sliced thin
  • 1/4 cup of kalamata olives
  • 4 tablespoons of olive oil
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon of sumak (a middle eastern spice that can be purchased at Middle Eastern grocery stores)

Salt and pepper to taste. Mix all ingredients well and serve immediately.

For matzoh balls and matzoh ball soup, Plates (Larchmont) chef/owner Matthew Karp recommends his grandmother Lillian Mayer’s recipes:

Grandmother Lillian's matzoh balls 

(recipe makes about five matzoh balls)

  • 2 eggs lightly beaten
  • 2 tablespoons of melted chicken fat (melt with a few slices of onion and cook for a few minutes for extra flavor, then remove onion)
  • 4 tablespoons of cool water
  • ½ cup plus two tablespoons matzoh meal

Combine eggs, chicken fat and water; salt and pepper (to taste) in a flat soup bowl

Mix lightly while slowly pouring in matzoh meal. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil )at least 6 quarts).

With wet hands, make small balls the size of large walnuts.

Drop in the boiling water, cover and cook for a ½ hour. 

Note 1: Grandma Lillian says that this recipe cannot be doubled!  In other words you have to make it twice for double quantities to avoid gummy, heavy matzoh balls.  
Note 2: Matzoh Balls, according to Matthew and Wendy Karp's mothers, improve in texture and lightness with freezing.  So if you want to cook ahead, place cooked matzoh balls in a heavy duty plastic bag for freezing. Defrosted matzoh balls revive and refluff when heated in chicken soup. 

Grandmother Lillian's Matzoh Ball Soup

  • 1 large chicken
  • 1 extra package of wings, backs or necks
  • 2-3 large carrots
  • 1 small parsnip
  • 2 medium onions
  • 2 stalks of celery with leaves
  • salt and pepper

Cover with 7 cups of cold water. Bring to a boil. Skim off the foam.

Add 2-3 large carrots, 1 small parsnip, 2 medium onions, 2 stalks of celery with leaves and salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and slowly simmer for 1 hour.

Add some fresh parsley and dill and simmer for ½ hour more. Strain everything out of the broth reserving the carrots to be cut up in the soup. Reheat the soup with matzoh balls and carrots.

Note 1. For Passover, the Matthew and Wendy Karp strain and discard all vegetables except the carrots which they serve with the matzoh ball soup. This is done according to personal taste. 
Note 2. The trick to chicken broth is the proportion of water to chicken. You do not want watery soup.

Take-home suggestions

Plates will accept orders for challah ($5) or house-cured smoked salmon ($24 per pound) up to Tuesday, Sept. 27 at 2 p.m.  

"My challah recipe is a culmination of my Jewish heritage and my days as an apprentice at restaurants in France," chef/owner Matthew Karp said. "At Plates, we cure and smoke the salmon using organic Maine hickory wood, and then we hand-slice it." Orders can be placed by sending an e-mail to manager@platesonthepark.com.


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