Celebrate Jewish New Year with festive dining

Submitted by Judy on Fri, 09/14/2007 - 11:06am.

The Orange County Register/Fullerton News Tribune
September 28, 2000

by Judy Bart Kancigor

As the Jewish New Year approaches, the expression "busy as a bee" comes to mind, and let's hope the bees have really been busy, because the quintessential ingredient of this festival table is honey, symbolizing the hope for a sweet year.

The holiday feast begins by dipping apples in honey and ends with honey cake and tayglach, little balls of dough boiled in honey syrup.

"My mother's tayglach were the best," remembers longtime Fullerton resident Sarah Entin, "but she never measured, so we have no recipe." This year, however, she and daughter Judy are determined to duplicate Grandma Eva's specialty, so stay tuned. "I remember she hid raisins in the dough. We're going to experiment till we get it right."

Sarah grew up in the tiny town of Ponedel, Lithuania. "My father left for America when I was only five," she remembers, "but my mother couldn't leave his mother, who lived with us, so we didn't join him until my grandma died in 1938." Sarah, her mother and two brothers fled Europe literally as the door was closing behind them. She had not seen her father in years! "We were so lucky to get out. So many of our relatives were killed in the holocaust."

It's hard to believe that this accomplished lady, who has spent a lifetime of service to Jewish organizations and her synagogue, was once a frightened schoolgirl. "The hardest thing I ever did in my life was learn English," she says. "I was in such a hurry to fit in. The first time I was called on to give a report I was shaking."

Now a grandma of 10, Sarah still makes Rosh Hashanah dinner each year for her family, a bittersweet tradition since husband Lou's death in 1998. "My brisket is already in the freezer, and, of course, I must
make my sweet and sour meat balls, the kids' favorite."

After a day of fasting and prayer on Yom Kippur (October 9) the Entins, like most Jewish families, gather for the traditional Break-The-Fast dinner, usually a dairy meal. "We have lox and bagels, herring, gefilte fish and of course noodle kugel," one variation or another traditionally popping up at Jewish gatherings. Sarah has been making her mother's version for at least 40 years. "Naturally I doctored up her recipe. She always used to ask why mine tasted so much better than hers!"