L’ Shanah Tovah! L’shana tovah u’metukah! (and a vegan challah recipe included!)

Today is the beginning of the Hebrew holiday Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, a day of  judgement and forgiveness that leads up to Yom Kippur ten days later, the day of Atonement.

If you want to learn more about it, try this sight http://www.myjewishlearning.com/holidays/Jewish_Holidays/Rosh_Hashanah.shtml , if not then just accept the opinions I lay out here as fact and go from there, but ask yourself why not? If you did click the link, you really can just skip to the recipe because I will just be “preaching to the choir”, although if you are the type to click, you will probably read the rest anyway. LOL.

Why learn about other traditions?

At this critical crossroads of human history, I believe the key to change our world into a place with a viable future for humanity requires all of us to practice that kindergarten mantra: “Stop. Look, and listen.”

STOP. Pause for a few minutes a day in the all American pursuit of pleasure and mirrors of self. Halt all the clicking and tweeting and getting and consuming. Pause. Breathe long and slow. We are human “Be”ings not human “Do”ings.

LOOK! Now look around you. Use the next five or ten minutes to actually look for those things that are unfamiliar and appraise the positive aspects. Whether you are you an atheist or fundamentalist or person with just a spiritual path; Republican or Democrat or Independent; literary intellectual or television aficianado or video game guru; there is someone out there you immediately judge and misunderstand. Because, if there isn’t, then not only are  you someone who probably clicked on that link, you are too self-aware to judge yourself prejudice free. ( Case in point, The Dalai Lama admits to struggling with preconceived ideas of others.) If however you can’t identify a culture or religion or point of view that elicits a knee jerk reaction, then just pick some culture or belief system with which you are unfamiliar.

LISTEN! !Once you have identified your “stuck points,” spend some time “listening”.  Dedicate at least one “sitcom” a day (twenty minutes more or less once you eradicate commercials) to familiarizing yourself with and acknowledging the good points of the foreign phenom selected. This can be done as simply as reading a book or Googling the topic on line; maybe try a culturally significant recipe or visit a community event sponsored by the group; borrow a cause friendly documentary  from the library. It doesn’t matter as much how you do it, as that you do it.

Finished with your first personal world peace assignment? Integrated some new ideas? Found some common ground after all?

Rosh Hashanah means “head of the year” and is the celebration of the anniversary of the creation of Adam and Eve, that time long before the descendants of Isaac and the descendants of Ishamel began their sibling rivalry in the middle east over who was actually chosen. The creation of Adam and Eve, though unique, are a common thread between all the followers of Abraham’s God – Christian, Hebrew, Islam and more. Like the head of a river may branch into many tributaries, the beliefs and practices of Rosh Hashanah are diverse, for example

Here is the Kabbalist’s take on the meaning of this important holiday .http://www.chabad.org/holidays/JewishNewYear/template_cdo/aid/3082/jewish/The-Waking-of-Creation.htm.  A take I can both respect and not fully embrace, after all I am not a Kabbalist.

However, a central tradition for all those celebrating this holiday is the dipping of apples in honey. This explanation of the “why” of this tradition, (the how is easy, slice fresh apples, dip in honey, eat) also from the Kabalist site, is my favorite on line, and perhaps a life perspective we can all endorse: http://www.chabad.org/holidays/JewishNewYear/template_cdo/aid/160979/jewish/Sweet-Stings.htm So dip some apples,  because that is what this holiday is really about finding the sweetness in life and savoring it while rising to its challenges.


Now finally here is my recipe for a vegan Challah, which just might be why you even opened this blog in the first place.

Whisk 1 1/2 tsp. Ener-G egg replacer into 2 T warm water. Let stand and texturize. (No egg replacer? Try Mixing 1 T ground flax with 3 T of warm water and let stand till thoroughly slimy)

Sprinkle 2 1/4 tsps yeast (this is one packet) over  1 cup warm (not hot) water mixed with 4 T of organic Real Maple syrup (grade A or B works, use agave if you don’t have real maple syrup, DO NOT SUBSTITUTE Honey or maple flavored syrup or bread will not work)  at bottom of Large mixing bowl. Stir lightly and let stand while collecting ingredients (about 5-10 minutes) to proof it.

Add 3 T of organic coconut oil at room temperature (liquid), may also substitute 3 T melted and cooled vegan stick butter; egg replacer; and 1 tsp salt. Whisk vigorously to mix.

Sift in 1 cup wheat flour and approx. 2 cups white flour stirring with wooden spoon until soft dough forms. Should form ball, Cover and let rest 15 minutes.

Lightly flour your kneading surface and place small ball with 1/2 cup white flour to side. Begin a good ten minutes of kneading the bread, slowly incorporating the last 1/2 cup of flour to keep hands from sticking.

Wash, dry and LIGHTLY oil the large mixing bowl (with coconut oil if used, canola oil if vegan margerine is used.) Plop in dough turn the dough ball completely around to coat all sides lightly with oil. Put in warm draft free place to completely rise (anywhere from 40 minutes to an hour depending on yeast and environment), push in your two fingers and if there is no bounce back, punch it down! Reform and repeat (make back into a ball and let second rise occur.)

Punch down again and let rest 15 minutes. To form I recommend this video. http://youtu.be/u7D8PSBsy1M

Cover and let rise 25 to 35 minutes (double in size). Then bake at 375 degree oven for 25 minutes.  Cool and enjoy.

I complete this blog with a rough translation of my initial greeting, in the words of one of my favorite symbols of integration,

“Live Long, and Prosper!”

One thought on “L’ Shanah Tovah! L’shana tovah u’metukah! (and a vegan challah recipe included!)”

  1. Wonderful thoughts for not only starting a new year, but maybe even something that can be called upon for starting many new things. That pause before it starts, identifying possible challenges, and educating ourselves as the first of our actions to moving forward.

    Also, I am now enamored with the thought of apples and honey. 🙂

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