When I was asked to put together this piece, I immediately called my mom and she was elated— all the best items to host the perfect Rosh Hashanah? Well, well, well...she has been training me for this my whole childhood. In the Jewish religion, Rosh Hashanah marks the start of the Jewish New Year (it runs from Monday September 6th to Wednesday September 8th this year), which means usually there are sweets abound for good luck in the coming months. And though I don’t personally identify as religious, culturally it is definitely one of my favorite Jewish holidays because of how joyous the food rituals are (no offense to Passover’s bitter herbs…) with recipes differing across regions around the world. Whether you’re hosting your friends, family, and/or your new pandemic boo, here’s everything you’ll need. As we say in the biz… Shana Tova!
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Placemats So Fun They Double As Art
It’s rare to look at a placemat and think that this could double as wall art. These translucent versions by Gaetano Pesce are made with semi-flexible resin that will make your table look extra funky (and, presumably, easy to clean)— it is a special occasion, after all.
A Kitchen Utensil No One Seems To Know The Name Of (But Is Needed!)
Honey makes its way into many Rosh Hashanah dishes from around the world to help usher in a sweet year. Though traditions differ, fruit like apples are often dipped into honey. Instead of squeezing it out of a plastic bottle, serve it in a porcelain container that comes with one of those kitchen utensils I always forget the name of — and lovingly called the “honey thing” — but is actually officially called a honey dipper (who knew?). This one is made by an ole-trusted favorite, Le Creuset and if it’s good enough for our cooking, it’s good enough for the bees.
Or... opt for one that’s a bit more kitschy.
For Guests Who Likes It Hot
You’ll need a good honey for that container and in my house we sometimes opt for the hot version to dip our apples and challah into. You’re still getting sweet New Year vibes, just with an unexpected kick to really get things going.
An Option For Vegans
Dates appear in all different kinds of Rosh Hashanah recipes. They also happen to be handy if you want a vegan alternative to honey. Sweet and decadent this date syrup made from organic medjools are a good option for those with dietary restrictions.
Plates That Set The Stage
Let’s make sure this year is a colorful one by kicking things off with these mix-and-match plates from West Elm.
Challah for the High Holiday
Despite the more classic braided challah you might see for Shabbat, it is customary on Rosh Hashanah to use a round challah shape. Plain is always an option, or you can go all out with a studded raisin version.
And To Serve The Challah
Every swirly whirly loaf needs a matching spiral bread board. Give your glistening challah bread a proper pedestal with this maple wood base.
Candles That Light Up The Room
If you’re going to partake in candle lighting on Rosh Hashanah, you don’t have to stay “traditional” with the set-up. I love these psychedelic ultra-drippy guys.
For Someone Who Likes To Serve Things Family-Style
No matter if you’re serving a heaping portion of carrot tzimmes or an herbaceous salad, this hand-carved braided serving set is perfect for spooning out servings, family-style.
An Apple-Themed Art Book
Though not directly Rosh Hashanah-related, apples are, of course, a key motif for the holiday. If the conversation is feeling a little dry and you want to avoid those hard hitting questions from your parents — such as when will you and your partner move in together or when you will pay them back for that recent fender-bender — distract them with these beautiful new book documenting various species of apples by photographer William Mullan.
For The Person Who Wants to Expedite Dinner Preparation
This year has been hard on the best of us. If you still want to host a gathering but have too much cooking fatigue to get it together on your own, Goldbelly has several Rosh Hashanah food packages that can save you in a pinch. This one from Mile End includes delicious-sounding mains like caramelized onion kugel and a saucy brisket.
Matzo Ball Soup Like Bubbie’s
Liebman’s is one of the last remaining Jewish delicatessen in the Bronx. Their matzo ball soup is one of all-time favorites for a cozy Bubbie classic. This package offers enough slurps for four people (or one, we won’t judge).
Secure The Sweets
It wouldn’t be a sweet New Year without dessert. This Russ & Daughter’s package has it all: babka, rugelach, and so much more. Elsewhere on Goldbelly you can also find some great vegan-friendly options, such as this gift set of halva from Seed + Mill.
Clean Up Can Be Cute
Pomegranates also have biblical significance for Rosh Hashanah. After all the fun is said and done, you’ll be left with a load of dishes. There’s no reason cleaning up can’t look good. I love these expandable sponges that function as a much more eco-friendly alternative to paper towels.
Why Not….Swap Wine For Mead?
There are lots of ways you could stay on theme for a holiday about sweetness. But mead — one the world’s oldest drinks — is low-key perfect for Rosh Hashanah because it’s made from fermented honey.