Geeking Out On Rosh HaShanah
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Geeking Out On Rosh HaShanah

A list of 5 obscure -- and underrated -- customs.

Dipping an apple in honey is always yummy, and everyone’s heard of the shofar blasts. But the Jewish New Year is also the time to enjoy some slightly more obscure customs that observers of the festival might want to incorporate into their holiday experience. Here, our geeky list.

1. Fun Foods or Pun Foods?
It's the head of the year, so you should eat a fish head? Should you eat beets to beat your adversaries? Want your merits to be as plentiful as the seeds in a pomegranate? These Rosh HaShanah rituals may not appeal to your taste buds, but punny foods will spice up your festive table.

2. No Naps For You!
Unlike Shabbat afternoon, hour of the beloved Shabbos shluff, some eschew sleep or idle walks during the afternoon on Rosh HaShanah, lest they have a sleepy new year. The good, if unsurprising news, is that there's a robust debate on this one. The Kabalist commentary, the Arizal, permits a nap on Rosh HaShanah afternoon.

3. Tashlich, or "Casting Off"
The custom to look out onto a body of water and recite a passage repenting for sins originates in Talmudic sources. Some throw bread in the water as well; others crumple a piece of paper, sometimes with a sin to atone for written on it, and throw the paper into the trash.

4. Let's Go Shopping!
This custom put the emphasis on having a sweet new year. Buy a new dress, some new shoes, or even a new game for the family to enjoy. Rosh HaShanah customs revolve around the concept of having a fresh start to a new year.

5. Beyond Apples
Many eat a new fruit, or one that they don't eat regularly, on the second night of the holiday. Pomegranates are a popular choice; there are so many seeds, it seems like there are 613, correspondents to the 613 commandments. Other choices: kiwis, dragon fruits, star fruit.

editor@jewishweek.org

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