To me, Rosh Hashanah means new beginnings, evolving traditions, brisket—and family

To me, Rosh Hashanah means new beginnings, evolving traditions, brisket—and family

By on September 17th, 2012

September has always meant the start of a New Year for me—the end of summer vacation, the kids going back to school and the Jewish New Year. In that regard, Rosh Hashanah has always felt like a time for new beginnings. (This year it starts tomorrow, Sept. 16.)

I have vivid memories of the holiday as a child in New York: helping my mother polish the silver; the abundance of nuts—walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds; going to temple in my finest new clothes and shoes; visiting family friends and neighbors.

My best memories of the holiday, though, are the mouth-watering aromas that emanated from my mother’s kitchen: simmering Matzo-ball soup, glazed Tzimmes (stew), juicy brisket and kasha vanishka (buckwheat grain with bow ties). Before dinner, my mother would serve chopped liver along with the traditional apples dipped in honey, to signify the sweetness of the upcoming New Year. The meal would conclude with a home-baked dessert like sponge cake or honey cake.

I’ve tried to carry forth many of these traditions in raising my own family, particularly when it comes to cooking.

Of course, as we adapt to different times and circumstances, some traditions evolve.

For example, I have been preparing the brisket in my Crock Pot for the past few years, using the same ingredients, and it always turns out delicious. The chopped liver that my mother had served as an appetizer has reemerged as a healthier vegetarian paté that my daughter Allie makes each year. We’ve incorporated the Rosh Hashanah tradition of apples dipped in honey into a sweet and simple dessert of caramel-coated apple slices.

One thing that has remained constant is the feeling that Rosh Hashanah gives us a second chance to make it a good year—for ourselves and our loved ones (that, and my mother’s recipe for brisket).

Vivian’s Crock Pot Brisket with Fingerling Potatoes

5 lbs of beef brisket
2 cups fingerling potatoes
1 dash cinnamon
1 clove garlic
½ tsp onion powder
1 TB paprika
1 TB red wine vinegar
1 TB brown sugar
3 large carrots (sliced in chunks)
3 celery ribs (sliced in chunks)
1 large sliced onion
2 TB ketchup
1 can whole cranberries
1 envelope Lipton soup mix
¼ cup red wine (optional)

Season the meat with paprika and onion powder and place in a Crock Pot or slow cooker. Add all of the ingredients, with the exception of the potatoes. Cook on high for three hours.

Remove the meat, cut away the fat, and slice. Return to the pot with the potatoes and continue cooking for another hour-and-a-half or until the meat and potatoes are tender. (Tip: Use the Crock Pot liner to avoid a messy cleanup). Serves 10 to 12.

Allie’s Recipe for Vegetarian Paté

1 package steamed lentils (1 package = 1 lb, 1.6 oz; Trader Joe’s sells it)
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1 cup walnuts, chopped
1 cup Cremini mushrooms, sliced
1 TB olive oil
2 eggs, hard-boiled
1 tsp onion salt
Salt and pepper, to taste

1. Slice and sauté the onions and mushrooms in 1 TB of olive oil.

2. Combine lentils, walnuts and hard-boiled eggs with sautéed onions and mushrooms in a large mixing bowl.

3. Purée the ingredients using a large food processor until it forms a fine paste. If using a blender or mini food processor, purée the ingredients in smaller batches.

4. Mix in onion salt and add salt and pepper, to taste. Refrigerate and serve chilled with crackers.

Read more about Los Angeles in Four Seasons Magazine

Read nutrition tips from Four Seasons Hotel Westlake Village, California in Four Seasons Magazine

Co-Author Allie Rhodes is Public Relations & Marketing Coordinator (AKA Social Media Guru) at Four Seasons Hotel Westlake Village, California (@FSWestlake) and the California Health & Longevity Institute (@CHLI360Health). She has a B.A. in Communications from Pepperdine University, and like her mom, enjoys classic films, suspense novels and pop cultural trivia. Allie lives in Los Angeles with her fiancé Austin.


Post Author
Vivian Rhodes

Vivian Rhodes is a published mystery novelist, Emmy-nominated television writer and lyricist. Based in Thousand Oaks, California, Vivian writes about all things nostalgia—from film noir to vintage toys—on her blog, Rhodes Less Traveled.

View all posts from Vivian
Read more about amman, Atlanta, austin, baku, Bali, Bali at Sayan, baltimore, bangkok, beaches, beijing, beirut, Beverly Hills, beverly wilshire, bora bora, Boston, Brooke Vosika, Budapest, buenos aires, cairo, canary wharf, carmelo, chaing mai, Chiang Mai, chicago, chicago ritz carlton, china, city breaks, costa rica, dallas, denver, destination tips, Disney World, doha, dublin, egypt, family travel, firenze, Florence, food, Four Seasons, Four Seasons Lisbon, Four Seasons Maldives Landaa Giraavara, four seasons westlake village, geneva, golden triangle, halloween, hampshire, hangzhou, hawaii, hong kong, houston, hualalai, istanbul, jackson hole, jakarta, japan, Jimbaran Bay, Kids For All Seasons, Koh Samui, Lāna’i, langkawi, las vegas, london, los angeles, Macau, maldives, Marrakech, Marunouchi, maui, mauritius, mauritus, Mexico, miami, milan, mumbai, nevis, new york, new york city, olrando, olympics, orlando, palm beach, palo alto, paris, park lane, philadelphia, philanthropy, photography, prague, punta mita, ramadan, recipes, resort escapes, restaurants, road trips, rosh hashanah, san diego, san francisco, santa barbara, santa fe, scottsdale, Seattle, serengeti, shanghai, sharm el sheikh, shenzhen, singapore, South America, special days, st. louis, st. petersburg, sydney, teen tweens, thailand, tokyo, toronto, travel tips, Vail, vancouver, washington, Whistler

2 Response(s) to "To me, Rosh Hashanah means new beginnings, evolving traditions, brisket—and family"
Jamie says:
September 20, 2012 at 8:26 pm

now just add recipe for your sweet potatos, cucumber salad and your sisters rice thing. my mom said she is gonaa make your brisket so she mite as well make everything else :)

uncle hank says:
September 18, 2012 at 6:42 pm

Your detailed description overflows with choice nostalgic drippings. Too bad no one has figured out
how to convert the words into an edible format!

A Happy New Year to all the extended branches and
especially to the Couple of the Year, Allie& Austen

Uncle Hank

Leave a Comment
Kids' Concierge
Expert travel advice.
From Moms.

Lounging at a Four Seasons with the kids now or just back from your vacation? Share your memories with us.


Follow us on Twitter
  1. Four Seasons Hotels
    Four Seasons Hotels: @evankirstel Thanks for visiting @FSBoston, Evan :) Happy holidays!

  2. Four Seasons Hotels
    Four Seasons Hotels: @oscarxpi Lovely! Thanks for sharing this beautiful photo from @FSSydney. Hope you slept well.

  3. Four Seasons Hotels
    Four Seasons Hotels: @RealMissMAUSA @RealMissMAteen So glad you had a wonderful time at @FSBoston's Teddy Bear Tea!

Check Availability
Make a Reservation

Number of Nights: 1


Children (0-18yrs)