Lessons I’ve Learnt – Tishrei

3rd of October 2018
24th Tishrei 5779

I feel so tired. Exhausted. My biggest lesson I’ve learnt standing at the end of this holiday season is that I need to be realistic about my capabilities at this time, and I need to prioritise the Yom Tov over other events.

So we went through Rosh Hashanah fine – totally observant, and really enjoying the time. We hosted family on the first night, and had a really special family time on the second night.

Yom Kippur went okay. Luke attended services and I was at home with the kids which was a bit hard. I felt myself getting really sick and flaring (Hashimotos style) towards the afternoon, and I realised that perhaps my health isn’t good enough to really fast a full 24 hours at the moment. This was a disappointing realisation, and one I will have to be mindful of with future fasts while I am in this healing period. G-D willings, I will be better next year though!

Luke left to go to Melbourne straight after Yom Kippur (like, that night), so then I solo parented for a few days, while also trying to finish up Sukkot gift shopping, Sukkot supply shopping and food prep. I did as little as I could, as I was pretty wrecked, and that meant that we weren’t super well prepared for the start of Sukkot.

The Yom Tovs to start Sukkot were still great, and we celebrated them well – taking time to rest and go to services and enjoy time in the sukkah. Same throughout the rest of the week – we had our neighbours over which was lovely, and had great family time. I was aware that next year I would like to have more activities in the sukkah with the kids during the week, but it was fine for now.

We hosted two “parties” on the weekend, and while they were both enjoyable, I felt really tired and drained after them and was too tired and worn out to properly observe the ending Yom Tovs of Shimini Atzeret and Simchat Torah. I deeply regret this, and realised that I should have prioritised these yom tovs over other events.

So the holiday season ended in a less than stellar way, BUT overall it was still really enjoyable. I learnt a lot, and enjoyed services so much more this year having gone through the Machzor beforehand with our Rabbi.

Things to be mindful of next year:

  • Prioritise the Yomim Tovim over any other events. Ideally host people on these days and not on other days.
  • Family events are nice, and I’m grateful that our family is so supportive that they’re keen to come to these events even thought they’re not interested in Judaism themselves, but just our family is also really nice. We don’t NEED to have other people over for for every holiday for it to special.
  • Have a budget and stick to it.
  • Put more effort into kids activities throughout the Chagim. I want to make this special for the kids, and I think that this stage it’s more important that we do those activities then do big fancy meals etc. Teaching my children and making this memorable for them should be my priority as a mother.

Preparing for the High Holidays

On my mind at the moment is preparation for the high holidays. Rosh Hashanah is just over 4 weeks away, then of course Yom Kippur a week later and Sukkot is hot on it’s heals.

In the lead up every holiday I always end up a grumpy ball of stress, usually at being the one who’s had to do everything, and no one else in my family opening their eyes to help. This year to try and combat that I’ll be having a sit down with everyone in the next week or two and detailing my expectations of everyone, which will involve everyone being proactive to help and keep things rolling. Okay, so this might be a bit of a stretch for my youngest two children, but it hopefully the message will be understood and taken on board by my husband and eldest son.

After going pretty hard core with children centred craft prep for these holidays for a few years (while we were just playing with the idea of this, and not committed to converting), the last year was much more focused on the technicalities of the days. This year I want to get in early and have a bunch of activities for my kids prepped and ready to make in the week or two before Rosh Hashanah, through to the end of Sukkot.

Here are some idea of things I want to do:

  • Colouring in activities
  • Maybe a big poster?
  • Stained glass hanging pomegranates
  • dried orange garland
  • Mini edible sukkahs
  • Plush items for holidays (plush strong and lulav, torah scroll, honey pot?)

Other items on my to do list:

  • Order some kosher meat and develop some menus
  • Get out boxes of decorations from last year and see what we need to be fixed/replaced/kept
  • Do a declutter in the house so that everything feels free and clean for the new year
  • Email all the fam to start the ball rolling for a family get-together
  • Organise and start buying gifts

Sukkot Menu Plan (part 1)

I love to, no, I NEED to menu plan. It is the only way I survive the holiday season, and really the only way I can stick to my food budget from week to week. I don’t have heaps of desserts and sweets planned, though I will probably add a few more to that list (see: Sukkoth Snacks) as we go through. I love rummaging around a fridge full of leftovers to make sandwiches and salads the next day, and I think this menu will allow for lots of that! I’m also just going to buy all my challah this year (shock! horror!). I just have to admit to myself that this is already a lot of cooking, and a lot of prep, and this is something I can easily do to make my life just a little bit easier.

In case you’re wondering why I’ve only included half a week, it is for a very simple reason – I only menu plan one week at a time. 😛 Also, I want to get a good idea of how much food we did and didn’t eat in this first week, and make good use of any leftovers in the second week – recreating them into beautiful dishes on their own. For example, I can see us turning the leftover roast beef from Sunday night into tacos the next day, and maybe even a shepherd’s pie later in the week, depending how much is left over…

_____________________________

Days before Sukkot:

Mon – leftovers

Tuesday – Vegetarian pizza

_____________________________

Sukkot snacks:

Baklava

Cookies

_____________________________

Sukkot I (Wed nigh, Thursday)

Dinner: Shul dinner

Breakfast: Pancake breakfast in the sukkah

Lunch: Antipasti

Sukkot II (Thursday night, Friday)

Dinner: Potato kugel, MEDITERRANEAN SWEET AND SOUR CHICKEN

Breakfast: Regular breakfast

Lunch: Funeral – eat there.

Sukkot III (Sabbath. Friday night, Saturday)

Dinner: Slow cooker lemon garlic chicken with veg . Orange Cardamom Malabi with Drunken Figs (this recipe)

Breakfast: Regular breakfast (weet-bix etc.)

Lunch: hummus bowls (spiced beef and caramelised onions)

Sukkot IV (Saturday night, Sunday)

Dinner: Eggs on toast / leftovers

Breakfast: Regular breakfast

Lunch: Shul BBQ (check what we need to bring…)

Sukkot V (Family dinner – Sunday night)

Dinner: Roast beef. Beetroot salad. Lemon pie & fruit for dessert (maybe this recipe). + Things others bring.


 

Stuffed Papers for Rosh Hashanah

Rosh Hashanah is tonight, and our house is looking beautiful and festive thanks to these stuffed papers we made. No tutorial necessary, as these are SO incredibly simple to make. I tried to use the symbolise foods for Rosh Hashanah as as well as a shofar, because… well, duh, it’s Rosh Hashanah. Shofars are it!

I just googled the pictures for each, and saved them and printed them out so that they took up half a page. The boys set to work painting them with watercolours, and then we cute them out. We used the scraps of paper that were cut off to stuff inside the shapes once we’d stapled them! So it turned into a pretty clean and nifty craft!

stuffed papers for Rosh Hashanah

stuffed papers for Rosh Hashanah stuffed papers for Rosh Hashanah

Children’s Book Review – High Holidays // VIDEO

I was pleasantly surprised when my book order came through nice and quickly last week. I had bought a number of books to add to our collection for the Fall Feasts – Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur and Sukkot, and usually it takes AGES for things to arrive to us, but this seems to be another advantage to living in a capital city now – faster shipping. 🙂

Anyway, we got a bunch of books which I’ll list below, and I’m really happy with them. I love books for their unique ability to make you feel warm and fuzzy, loved, not alone, and excited for the holidays that are approaching. Books are wonderful. I’ve done a video below with a little book review (includes cameos of cute/annoying children) of each of the books we got in this pack.

If you have any suggestions for books that you love for these holidays, or for other Jewish holidays than I’d love to know about them! Please leave them in a comment below so we can all gain from your experience.

Book List:

  • Shabbat is Coming by Tracy Newman
  • Rosh Hashanah is Coming by Tracy Newman
  • Sammy Spider’s First Simchat Torah by Sylvia A Rouss
  • One Good Deed by Terri Fields
  • Sadie’s Sukkah Breakfast by Jamie Korngold
  • Talia’s Yum Kippur by 

high holiday books

High Holiday Activities for Kids

This is a list of activities I’m doing with my kids (1, 3, 5) for Elul and the High Holidays. This list starts on the 10th of Elul (totally not organised to start on the 1st!), and goes through to Simchat Torah. I live outside of Israel, so Rosh Hashanah has 2 days, and Sukkot has 8. ????

Feel free to play along with us! I’ll be sharing lots of pictures on my instagram – @taliacarbis


Elul 10: Draw a picture of the high holy days and what they mean to you.

Elul 11: Shabbat. To discuss – What have you done this year that makes you proud and that you think makes Hashem proud?

Elul 12: Journal prompts – “What have you done that you need to forgive yourself for?” “How can you extend more grace and mercy to yourself this month?”

Elul 13: Do an accordion fold Autumn leaf banner – https://au.pinterest.com/pin/227783693636526633/

Elul 14: Decorate the word Truth in bubble letters

Elul 15: Choose a new book for the High Holidays to order online.

Elul 16: Make a mobile to hang from the wall with symbols for Rosh Hashanah.

Elul 17: Catch up day.

Elul 18: Shabbat -Discuss what it means to repent, and what it means to forgive. Discuss how this practically works in your family.

Elul 19: Write a prayer of repentance to Hashem and

Elul 20: Rosh Hashanah stuffed papers : https://au.pinterest.com/pin/227783693630087301/

Elul 21: Practice writing Hebrew words related to Rosh Hashanah

Elul 22: Make Rosh Hashanah cards and mail to family and friends

Elul 23: apple pattern colouring ins – https://au.pinterest.com/pin/227783693630381070/

Elul 24: What are your goals for the next year? These might be personal goals, educational, spiritual… etc.

Elul 25: Shabbat – Catch up day (after sunset)

Elul 26:Make a round challah

Elul 27: Apple fritters

Elul 28: Plan a delicious Rosh Hashanah menu

Elul 29: Erev Rosh Hashanah – Bake a round challah

High Holiday activities for kids

Tishri 1: Rosh Hashanah – Dip apples in honey

Tishri 2: Rosh Hashanah – Catch up day

Tishri 3: Shabbat – Make up story about a family (just like ours) and what they did through the holidays. (Possibly theme – giving Tzedakah, being grateful, etc.)

Tishri 4: Using fabric paints, decorate a plain shirt for Sukkot or the High Holidays in general.

Tishri 5: Today Lior gets to choose a special dinner.

Tishri 6: Choose some photos from Rosh Hashanah and make a mini scrapbook out of them. (Part 1)

Tishri 7: Choose some photos from Rosh Hashanah and make a mini scrapbook out of them. (part 2)

Tishri 8: Colouring In

Tishri 9: Erev Yom Kippur – 10 Commandments game – talk about how Moses came back with the second set of tablets on Yom Kippur

Tishri 10: Yom Kippur + Shabbat – Think of something you can give up today while Mum and Dad fast.

Tishri 11: Start building the sukkah!

Tishri 12: Today Eli gets to choose a special dinner!

Tishri 13: make a dried orange decoration for the sukkah – https://au.pinterest.com/pin/227783693630413951/

Tishri 14: Erev Sukkot – Make edible sukkahs – https://au.pinterest.com/pin/227783693636526632/

Tishri 15: Sukkot Sabbath – Wear a special Sukkot t-shirt you have made.

Tishri 16: Sukkot – make sukkot cards to give to people when they visit.sd

Tishri 17: Sukkot + Sabbath – Read “Sammy Spider’s First Sukkot”

Tishri 18: Sukkot – Nature scavenger hunt – paint the items to be used as decoration

Tishri 19: Sukkot – Have friends over to play in the sukkah

Tishri 20: Sukkot – Today Daddy gets to choose a special dinner.

Tishri 21: Sukkot – Write out and decorate a special Sukkot prayer for 5778.

Tishri 22: Sukkot Sabbath –

Tishri 23:  Simchat Torah – Make torah scroll cookies

Rosh Hashanah Menu 5778

I thought it would be a good idea to plan out my menu for Rosh Hashanah this year, as it’s only two weeks away! This is our first year celebrating Rosh Hashanah and having synagogue services to go to, so I’m not 100% sure how it will all fit together. As far as I can tell there aren’t any communal meals around Rosh Hashanah, but it certainly won’t hurt me to have all these meals planned, and just have them later in the week if we end up eating with someone else.

We have also put in a kosher meat order through our synagogue in time for the Chag, so I hope I’ve ordered the right things… And I hope it doesn’t cost a million dollars… we’ll see.

Rosh Hashanah also directly precedes Shabbat, so it’s 3 days in a row I have to have things ready for. So lots of cooking this week and next to stock up the freezer!

Day 1

Dinner: (starter) Potato & leek soup. (main) Salmon Tarator (this recipe), Roast veg salad, round challah

(Dessert) Upside down apple honey cake

Breakfast: Crepes (pre-made) with berries

Lunch: Hummus bowls with caramelised onions and spiced beef. Garlic bread challah (dairy free)

Day 2

Dinner: (starter) Non-dairy dips and veg sticks (main) Persian honey glazed chicken with jeweled rice, corn on the cob. Round sourdough challah.

Dessert – Baked apples stuffed with raisins. Vegan caramel sauce.

Breakfast: Regular breakfast

Lunch: Haloumi & beetroot salad.

Shabbat

Dinner: Sourdough challah, slow cooker roast beef (this recipe). Israeli cousous salad. Garden salad.

Breakfast: Regular breakfast

Lunch: Antipasti – cheeses, hummus, pickles, almonds, dried fruits, hot smoked salmon,  sun-dried tomato, olives etc. Sliced sourdough challah.

Smoked Salmon Pasta Salad

A delicious salad that you can prepare the day before, or just before eating.

If making this for Motzei Shabbat you could cook the pasta and pumpkin on Friday, and keep them refrigerated, then assemble before eating. You can also prepare this whole dish on Friday and it will easily keep in the fridge until Saturday evening.

Ingredients:

1 fillet of hot smoked salmon
2 handfuls of uncooked pasta (I use gluten free)
Cubed pumpkin – roasted
1 handful of flat leaf parsley
½ red onion, diced
1 big handful of diced pumpkin
Cheddar cheese

Process:

1. Cook your pasta according to the packet instructions.
2. Take your pumpkin and bake it in the oven with some olive oil until soft.
3. Cut up your onion finely. Chop up your parsley, and grate your cheese.
4. Time to assemble! Break up your smoked salmon into the bowl, along with all the other ingredients. Mix in the bowl. If there was some oil in your tray from the pumpkin make sure you add that so you get a nice “dressing” through the pasta salad.

Variations:

You could throw anything into this salad of course, but some variations I like include:

  • Fresh spinach or rocket in place of the parsley
  • Tinned tuna or tinned salmon in I don’t have any hot smoked salmon at home
  • Serve it warm if making it during the week, or eating it as soon as it’s prepared
  • Use sweet potato instead of pumpkin

Haloumi, Fig & Olive salad for Tu B’Shevat

Tu B’Shevat is coming up very quickly, and I’ve been thinking of a few yummy things we can make using the 7 species.  This salad is the perfect side to your Tu B’Shevat lunch, or to be honest, any time when you feel like eating something delicious!

Serves: 1

Ingredients:

  • 1 fig
  • 2 slices haloumi
  • cos lettuce leaves
  • ¼ onion, sliced and caramalised
  • 4 large olives
  • 1 small tomato
  • ¼ lebanese cucumber
  • Pomegranate molasses
  • Olive oil

Instructions:

  1. Like any salad, this is dead easy to make. Fry off your haloumi till it’s nice and golden. Dice up your fig, olives, tomato, cucumber, and the cooked haloumi.
  2. Tear apart your lettuce leaves. You could definitely use any greens here, and as much or as little as you want. Add your other ingredients to the top. Salt & Pepper it.
  3. You could make a simple vinaigrette for this, but I found it was delicious with a tiny splash or olive oil, and a drizzle of pomegranate molasses!
 Notes:

This is a single serve of salad – perfect for lunch. Multiply however you see fit to serve more.