It’s Rosh Hashana time! That’s right, the Jewish New Year. Rosh Hashanah begins in the evening of Sunday, September 16, 2012, and ends in the evening of Tuesday, September 18, 2012.
This year I’ll be Jewing it up with my friends at Makom in services that we’ve coordinated at Hart House (tickets still available!). As much work as I’ve put into the online aspects of it all, the crew who coordinated the logistics deserve mad props. (Side note: I have no idea why I’m using phrases such as “mad props”. I stopped myself from using the word “homies” where I typed “friends” and “Rosh Hashana time!” put “Peanut butter jelly time” in my head. I guess it’s my mood.)
I’ve covered healthy habits this week. In past years I’ve discussed childhood memories, clothing rituals and customs. Last year I even had a guest post by Rose Reisman. What’s left? How about health benefits of apples and honey, two symbolic foods eaten together on Rosh Hashana.
The Land of Israel is often called the land of “milk and honey” in the Bible. Honey represented good living and wealth. Some historians believe that the honey referenced in the Bible was date honey – which, of course, is vegan.
On the first night of Rosh Hashana it is customary to eat an apple dipped in honey and ask G-d to grant us a good sweet year.
On the second day we eat a “new fruit”, a fruit that has recently come into season but that we have not yet had the opportunity to eat. When I was a child we ate pomegranites, which we now see year-round.
Health benefits of apples
These are just a few:
- Improve digestion: Apples contain a lot of fiber and pectin, 4-5 grams of fiber in a medium apple. As you know from laxative ads, fiber helps regulate your digestive system. You poop better. Don’t we all like a good poop? The fiber also reduces risk of certain types of cancer.
- Improved energy: Natural sugars & iron provide a natural energy boost.
- Reduced stroke risk: Apples are high in potassium, a mineral that helps control blood pressure
- Immune-boosting: 11-14% vitamin C in a medium apple. Vitamin C may reduce your likelihood of developing chronic conditions and diseases, such as arthritis, heart disease and some forms of cancer.
- Detoxifying: Apples help cleanse and purify the blood
Health benefits of honey
Anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-fungal, raw honey also contains nutrients and enzymes.
- Heals wounds and burns: Its antibacterial activity is due to its ability to produce Hydrogen Peroxide, a common wound cleaner. I’ve heard of people applying honey topically to wounds but to me that just seems like a sticky mess.
- Soothe a sore throat, help heal a cold: Nutrients and enzymes kill bacteria and viruses. A great reason to eat raw honey when you’re sick.
- Immune boosting: Not just for related to colds, honey has a high concentration of polyphenols, a type of antioxidant that helps to protect cells from free radical damage.
- Cure allergies: People with environmental allergies can take a small amount of honey. The closer the source of honey to where you live, the better. I know someone who, while not really the homeopathic type, cured his pollen allergies with honey.
- Cancer fighting: Researchers have discovered that phytonutrients found both in honey and propolis (a mixture of resins and other substances that honeybees use to seal the hive and make it safe from bacteria and other micro-organisms) have been shown to have cancer-preventing and anti-tumor properties. Researchers have discovered that substances found in honey and propolis prevent colon cancer in animals. (source)
Granted, raw honey is the healthiest and most people dip their apples in pasteurized honey but you could smear some raw honey on.
High holiday posts from past years:
- To a sweet new year (Sept 8, 2010)
- Happy (Jewish) New Year (Sep 28, 2011) – Try Rose Reisman’s recipe for Chicken supreme stuffed with cranberries, almonds and havarti
Usual disclaimer when I link to old posts: Images got lost when I changed web hosts.
- Why do we dip an apple into honey on Rosh Hashanah?
- Rosh HaShanah Food Customs (about.com)
- Rosh Hashanah Symbolic Foods (Mazornet.com)
- Honey or Sugar – Which is Healthier? – brand new post from fooducate