Rosh Hashanah Food Customs and Menus

Honey Wheat Raisin Challah

The Spruce / Miri Rotkovitz

The origin of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, is Biblical (Lev. 23:23-25): "a sacred occasion commemorated with loud blasts (of the Shofar, the ram's horn)." In Talmudic times, Rosh Hashanah became a celebration of the anniversary of the world's creation and a day of self-examination, repentance, and judgment.

How Is Rosh Hashanah Celebrated?

Rosh Hashanah, a two day holiday, is both a solemn and happy occasion. Jews are solemn in their repentance, but happy in their confidence that God is merciful and good. On Rosh Hashanah, Jews listen to the Shofar (ram's horn) blown during lengthy prayer services, eat holiday meals, and refrain from work. After repenting for bad deeds through prayers, they symbolically cast off sins through the Tashlich ceremony.

What Are Rosh Hashanah Food Customs?

After the Rosh Hashanah prayer service, Jews eat a festive holiday meal. Special Rosh Hashanah food customs have developed over the centuries, including vegetarian concept meals. On the first day of Rosh Hashanah, a piece of apple is dipped into honey in the hopes of a sweet year. On the second day of Rosh Hashanah, Jews eat a new fruit not yet eaten in the season so a special blessing (Shehechiyanu) can be recited. Various symbolic foods—such as dates, pomegranates, pumpkin, leeks, beets—are traditionally eaten on the holiday.

What Is a Traditional Ashkenazic Rosh Hashanah Dinner Meal?

What Is a Traditional Rosh Hashanah Lunch Meal?

Contemporary Israeli Menus

These menus tend to be creative and healthy while maintaining touch with Jewish New Year food traditions. Enjoy these modern Israeli ideas for Rosh Hashanah holiday dinner and lunch menus and recipes.

Dinner Menu 

  • Salmon in Pesto and Almonds
  • Country Mushroom Soup
  • Caramelized Onion Chicken With Dried Fruit
  • Veal Roast With Fresh Figs
  • Potato and Sweet Potato Duet
  • Stir-Fry Green Beans
  • Fruit Compote

Lunch Menu

  • Roasted Spring Chicken in Spices
  • Sweet Beet Salad
  • Lettuce Salad
  • Rice Pilaf
  • Sweet Potato Pie
  • Honey Cake