the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

Shana Tova


A Happy and Healthy New Year to all my Jewish blogger friends.

Here’s a little Rosh Hashanah primer for all you hot shiksas out there who don’t know the difference between Rosh Hashanah and Rush Limbaugh — (from Wikipedia)

“The traditional greeting on Rosh Hashanah is “Shana Tova,” Hebrew for “A Good Year,” or “Shana Tova Umetukah” for “A Good and Sweet Year.” Because Jews are being judged by God for the coming year, a longer greeting translates as “May You Be Written and Sealed for a Good Year” (ketiva ve-chatima tovah).

During the afternoon of the first day occurs the practice of tashlikh, in which prayers are recited near natural flowing water, and one’s sins are symbolically cast into the water.


Many also have the custom to throw bread or pebbles into the water, to symbolize the “casting off” of sins. The traditional service for tashlikh is recited individually and includes the prayer “Who is like unto you, O God…And You will cast all their sins into the depths of the sea”, and Biblical passages including Isaiah 11:9 (“They will not injure nor destroy in all My holy mountain, for the earth shall be as full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea”) and Psalms 118:5-9, 121 and 130, as well as personal prayers.

Rosh Hashanah meals often include apples and honey, to symbolize a “sweet new year”. Various other foods with a symbolic meaning may be served, depending on local minhag (custom), such as tongue or other meat from the head (to symbolise the “head” of the year). Other symbolic foods are dates, black-eyed beans, leek, spinach and gourd, all of which are mentioned in the Talmud. Pomegranates are used in many traditions: the use of apples and honey is a late medieval Ashkenazi addition, though it is now almost universally accepted. Typically, round challah bread is served, to symbolize the cycle of the year.”

And of course… the sound of the shofar —



  1. Rattling The Kettle

    Thanks, Neil. A happy and healthy (and blog-traffic-y) to you, too.

  2. Finn

    I want a “Kosher” tank top! I think after all my experience with Jewish “meat,” I qualify, no?

    Shana Tova, my friend.

  3. LVGurl

    Ah, Happy New Year.

    In high school, I could have used a tank top that read, “Yiddish Magnet.” The nice Jewish boys seems to like me. I went to many formal dances with nice Jewish boys.

  4. buzzgirl

    Happy New Year!

  5. psychotoddler

    Shana Tova! She was a really hot Country singer, right?

    BTW here’s that link to Tashlich:

  6. Rhea

    And a good, happy and healthy year to you, too!

  7. Dagny

    Happy New Year!

  8. sarah g

    ketiva ve-chatima tovah!
    Thanks for the info!

  9. Ellen Bloom

    L’ Shana Tovah, Neil Dahlink!

  10. Jenny from Chicago

    Shana Tovah!

  11. tamarika

    Chag Sameach! And Shana Tova!

  12. 180/360

    See you are informational, too! I didn’t know about any of that. Happy Holidays!

  13. 180/360

    Hey! Where’s my comment?

  14. sassy

    I love shofars. They’re so stinky it’s hard to keep a straight face when you’re near one that’s being blown.

    Happy new year, Neil.

  15. Katie

    Shana Tovah Umetukah! The lekach is already in the oven.

  16. Jay

    Oh boy, did somebody just make a jewish meat joke?

  17. Neil

    Jay — that was just Finn. She’s always hitting on the Jewish men.

  18. Alison

    Happy New Year, I mean Shana Tova, to you, Neil!

  19. wendy

    Very enlightening. I love the symolic apples and honey.

    I feel more a world citizen now.

  20. Wendy

    L’Shana Tova to you, Neil!

  21. JanePoe (aka Deborah)

    A good year to you, Neil! Peace, JP/deb

  22. Jenn

    shana tova right back atcha!
    I LOVE the idea of casting off of your sins (as pebbles into the stream). How many pebbles do you get??

  23. By Jane

    thanks, Neil, for making feel totally guilty that I’m reading your blog rather than being in shul where I belong. Another sin to toss in the bathtub this afternoon…

  24. Rach

    HNY Neil, may the next one be full of love and hilarity, and may we continue to read all about it.x

  25. Elisabeth

    Happy New Year, Neil!

  26. teahouseblossom

    Hey, Shana Tova Umetukah to you! Hope you’re having a wonderful day.

  27. Otir

    L’shana tova! On my blog yesterday a picture that showed all (or almost) what you described. T’was our table last year, but this year was pretty much the same.

    May you all be inscribed for a good life.

  28. melanie

    happy new year

  29. N

    L’Shana Tova to you, my friend!

  30. brettdl

    Have a great new year Neil.

  31. grace, MetaHara

    if god is of the non dual realm
    then god is not a he or a him
    or a she or a her
    but none and both and all
    non dual realm
    of compassion.

  32. Mariana

    I would appreciate it if you can tell me if a gift on the ocasion of the Jewish New Year is appropriate, and if so, if you know any traditional gifts.
    Thank you!

  33. Chosen People

    “Shana Tova Umetukah!” – Thank you for your post!


    Please visit my store for some great Rosh Hashana cards and other cool stuff for the Chosen people!

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