Gathering Together for a Sweet New Year

By Tess Chanoch

I have fond memories of spending Rosh Hashanah with my family in the suburbs of New Jersey. When I was younger, I would step out of services and palaver with my friends, but I always made sure to come back before the sermon. I loved hearing the sermon on Rosh Hashanah. Our rabbi is thought provoking and his sermon was essential for the car ride home when my father would ask, “‘What did you think?”

Every year, my parents host a Rosh Hashanah dinner in the front of their cottage home in Readington. They set up a tent, in case of rain, and as soon as we get back from services the “Chanoch Shuffle” begins. Out come the tables, chairs, plates (real plates—never plastic or paper), challah covers, drinking glasses, wine glasses, coffee and tea cups, forks, knives, tablecloths, napkins ironed and folded, and the hope that we can assemble everything before guests arrive.

Cindy is the first one to arrive with flower arrangements she designed the night before, her famous apple cake, and freshly baked challah. As friends and family arrive, their dishes are put under the tent with care. I look forward to the kugel and the variety of briskets. My favorite part of the night is when my mother leads the group in the Sheheheyanu. Our voices rise together thanking God for helping us reach this season, and I am grateful to celebrate another year with my family and friends. May this New Year be filled with health and happiness, and sweet moments for you and your family. L’Shanah Tovah!

About Tess Chanoch

Tess is the Assistant Director of Community Engagement at B’nai Jeshurun. She lives in Jersey City with her husband, Kelly.