Rosh Hashanah – Another Year of Gluten Free Living

Two years ago my oldest daughter was diagnosed with a gluten sensitivity.  It inspired me, despite my diagnosis six months prior, to make the commitment to cook gluten free for our whole family.  Here is to another year of living Gluten Free!!!!

Rosh Hashanah commemorates the creation of the world.  In the Torah there are two distinct commandments to observe on Rosh Hashanah.

  1. In Leviticus 23:24-25- “on the first day of the seventh month, there shall be a solemn rest unto you, a memorial proclaimed with the blast of horns.”
  2. In Numbers 29:1- “this day shall be a ‘holy day’ a day when Jews should no work and a day when the shofar is trumpeted.

This period, the Days of Awe, is so important that preparations for it begin in the preceding month of Elul, when it is customary to blow the shofar during weekly services in synagogue.   The shofar is designed to stir the heart of every Jew to repentance and toward a closer relationship with God.  It is considered a great honor to blow the shofar.  As the month of Elul draws to an end, there is a special Selichot (forgiveness) service on the Saturday night before Rosh Hashanah when the congregation recites a series of important prayers.

A popular activity undertaken during the afternoon of the first day of Rosh Hashanah is Tashlikh (casting off) which involves walking to a body of water, reciting prayers and then tossing  bread crumbs into the water, a ceremony that symbolizes casting off sins.  Many people visit the graves of their loved ones during this season which originated with the belief that the thoughts or prayers of the deceased can intercede in heaven on behalf of the living.

Rosh Hashanah is an important season in my life.  Four years ago during Rosh Hashanah, I began the process of conversion to Judaism.  Two years ago this season, I began the process to become a Bat Mitzvah..a women of the Torah.  I don’t think I would have began this process if it was not for giving up chocolate and gluten.  As I have said before, these two foods, which acted like drugs in my body, did not allow me to have the kind of relationship I wanted to have with God.  I was in a brain fog.  I am grateful everyday for the clarity I feel on a gluten free diet.

Here is a list of important items you need for Rosh Hashanah:  Candlesticks and candles, wine and decanter, wine cups, 2 round challahs, challah cover, a holiday bread knife, cut apples, a dish of honey and flowers.  Rosh Hashanah is welcomed by the lighting of two candles, for which the mother recites two special blessings.  Then the father says the kiddush and a special blessing over the wine.  Then the motzi is made on the 2 round challah.  During the meal apples are dipped in honey to symbolize having a sweet new year.  Other symbolic food eaten during this meal include carrots, leeks, beets, dates, gourds, pomegranates and fish.  I discovered this recipe through Elana’s Pantry.

Gluten Free Rosh Hashanah Honey Cake


2 T organic decaf coffee

½ cup boiling water

2 ½ cups almond flour

½ t baking soda

1 t ground cinnamon

¼ t ground cloves

½ cup agave nectar

¼ cup grapeseed oil

2 eggs

¼ cup raisins


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Take 2 T decaf coffee and pour ½ cup boiling water over them, collecting the liquid.

Mix agave, oil and eggs into the coffee.

Mix dry whisked ingredients into wet ingredients.

Add raisins.

Pour into a well greased 9 “ pan.

Bake for 30-35 minutes.

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