Noshin’: Praying and fasting culinarily during the High Holy Days

Empty cake dishDuring this most sacred of weeks (OK, sacred ten days), we oscillate between copious eating and no eating at all.  Chances are, if you’re reading this, you enjoy your food more than the average bear.

If you need some tips on fasting, Google provides no shortage.

  • The most succinct, complete set of advice I found was at Judaism 101.  Hit this one up first.
  • The Jewish Outreach Institute (JOI) has some more teachings-based advice.
  • The folks over at Jewish Life Organized, have some creative tips to offer, including a recommendation for noodles and grapes!
  • Jews don’t have a monopoly on ritual fasts: a page on fasting for Ramadan suggested eating dates because of their nutrient offerings, health benefits, and availability this time of year.  They also dovetail nicely with the upcoming harvest festival, in which dates play a traditional role.
  • Although it feels like admitting to cheating, I prefer to take an afternoon nap if possible.  If this works in your schedule, I say go for it.

I leave you with some food for thought (pun absolutely intended) from one of my own favorite food-related Jewish sites, The Jew & the Carrot:

OK, I lied — just one more (I have until Monday to repent!): the Hazon Food Conference is happening over Christmas.  That’s right: you could be talking eco-/socially-conscious food with like-minded Jews instead of hitting up the local Chinese restaurant. AND IT’S IN MONTEREY, CALIFORNIA — where I’m fairly certain there will be no snow, no ice, and no sub-zero temperatures to greet youjust organic, locally-grown, Glatt kosher food prepared for you while you talk urban farming, sustainability, and the environment with other awesome people (correction, awesome *Jews*) committed to the cause. Personally, I’m not sure I can think of anything more amazing I could be doing for those three days.

Here’s the kicker: Taglit Birthright Israel NEXT is offering 40 scholarships, and they’re accepting applications through October 12.  You don’t even have to be an alum of their program (although I’m betting it couldn’t hurt your chances).  On the plus side of my telling you, there are currently no Midwesterners on the attendee list and I’m all in favor of as many people going as possible; on the other hand, the fewer of you that apply, the better my chances of snagging that sweet, sweet scholarship will be.

As Alton Brown says on Iron Chef, I bid you good eating.  Shana tova tikatevu, Twin Cities!

(Photo: kmevans)