Rosh Hashana Gift Giving Advice

The Jewish High Holiday period is a joyous time in the Jewish calendar, marking the start of the new year. The high holidays start with Rosh Hashana (New Years) on September 29, followed by Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) on October 8 (always 10 days after Rosh Hashana).

Rosh Hashana is a truly happy occasion filled with symbolism and sweetness. This might be our favorite holiday with golden-baked round challah to symbolize the cycle of life and apples–lots of them! We dip both challah and apples in honey to ensure a sweet new year. There are apples–many of them, cooked every-which-way! We dip them in honey for a sweet new year and use them in all sorts of dishes from tsimmes to cakes. Here are some of our favorite Rosh Hashana recipes:

Holiday Apple Cake

Teiglach

Jane’s Favorite Challah

Aside from the food, the “reset” aspect of the holiday is welcomed as well. The new year challenges us to think about how we can improve ourselves. We love the questions many of you ask us about Rosh Hashana gift giving, it shows how much you care about pleasing your recipient(s). Here are some questions we have received along with answers we hope you will find helpful. Answers are below.

What should I give my Jewish boss or coworker for Rosh Hashana?

I’m not Jewish but my best friend is—what should I give?

What do you recommend for my college student?

Is it appropriate to give a Rosh Hashana gift to clients and customers?

Do you have gluten free products that are appropriate for Rosh Hashana?

What should my Rosh Hashana gift message say?

These questions make us so happy. Why? We find it genuinely touching that people take such care and thought into giving the right gift for a Jewish holiday. So let us be as generous with our advice. Here are some general Rosh Hashana gift giving recommendations:

Let’s face it, Rosh Hashana—like all Jewish holidays—is a foodie’s delight. With the focus on sweetness and apples and honey, there are plenty of choices. Here are some top choices: Rosh Hashana Traditions Basket, Walnut Honey Cake and our brand-new Rosh Hashana in a Box. But we have so much more, including honey from Israel, our holiday apple cake, High Holiday challah set, Holiday Teiglach and more. Click here to see all our our delicious holiday gifts.

If you are a baker, as I am, I would bake an apple cake (terrific recipe here) or some round challah (my favorite challah recipe here).

ANSWERS TO QUESTIONS ABOVE

What should I give my Jewish boss or coworker for Rosh Hashana?

For a boss or coworker, you DON’T want to be overly personal but you DO want to be “holiday appropriate.” It is best to select a Rosh Hashana gift basket that reflects Jewish tradition such as our Rosh Hashana Traditions Basket or Fruitful Holiday Basket. Both are impressive and will show your thoughtfulness.

I’m not Jewish but my friend is—what should I give?

For a friend, perhaps you are looking to acknowledge the holiday with a tasteful gesture. A tin of rugelach or round challah and honey are great, affordable choices.

What do you recommend for my college student?

Our experience working with parents of college students indicates that parents have 2 specific goals when sending Jewish holiday gifts to their kids: 1) Remind the child that the holiday is here and 2) Send a taste of home and love. Please be sure to read our advice about shipping to college dorms or apartments. Top choices for college students include Rosh Hashana in a Box and Rosh Hashana Traditions Basket. Many college students are gluten free. Check out our Jewish gluten free department.

Is it appropriate to give a Rosh Hashana gift to clients and customers?

Not only is giving a Rosh Hashana gift basket or kosher gift basket to a client or customer appropriate, but it makes great business sense. The point of gifting a client is to thank them for the business and solidify the relationship. What better way to do this than to acknowledge their own holiday therefore honoring them and who they are? We have many corporate customers—most of whom are not Jewish—who send gifts for all of the Jewish holidays to their clients. Many of our corporate clients select custom gifts, which we are always happy to help with. Please call Jane or Ann at 866-242-5524. They know everything!

Do you have gluten free products that are appropriate for Rosh Hashana?

Perfect for the holiday, and 100% gluten free, our assortment includes our best-selling Gluten Free Challah SetWalnut Honey Cake, Gluten Free Apple Cake, and Rugelach Duo. But there’s more! Please click to see our entire gluten free department.

What should my Rosh Hashana gift message say?

When sending a gift, including a gift message is key! A great gift message is “Shana Tova! Wishing you a sweet, happy and healthy New Year. With love, Your Name.” If your gift is to a client or customer, a great way to sign the card is “Your friends from ABC company.”

I hope that this Rosh Hashana gift giving advice is helpful to you. Feel free to contact us with any questions or suggestions. Shana Tova to you and your family.

Written by Jane Moritz (jane@challahconnection.com), Chief Maven Officer, Challah Connection

Challah Connection is the premiere online kosher gift company specializing in Jewish traditional gifts for Jewish Holiday, Shiva, Jewish Birthday and all Jewish gift giving occasions . “Creating Kvells Since 2002”

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It’s Our Birthday Month and We Thank You!

August is our birthday month and Challah Connection will be 17. Like any 17 year old, we have grown in so many ways. We have been blessed with stellar sales growth, loyal customers and a firm leadership position in our niche. However, growth hasn’t always been easy. We had so much to learn when we opened our first browser window back in 2002, such as:

Who ARE we, what is our mission and what do we stand for?”

How can we serve you best?

Those are just a couple of soul-searching questions that put us on our path to becoming the go-to spot for kosher and Jewish holiday gift baskets (not to mention shiva gifts, which make up a large part of our business).

While we sell a tangible item, we provide a highly emotional experience, one where we help customers connect with Jewish tradition and ritual. Additionally, as a gift company, our customers are counting on us to deliver that emotional message to their loved ones, friends, business colleagues—people they truly care about and with whom they want to share this nostalgic experience. Here are just a few of the many heartfelt messages that you have shared with us over the years.

“Your luscious babka and rugelach remind me of my grandmother’s house and the aromas from her kitchen when she was baking. Thank you for recreating these beloved tastes.”

I have found that one of the best ways to share holiday wishes with members of my family and friends who live at a distance is to send them a Challah Connection gift basket!”

Thanks for making us a hero to our out of town family.”

More reviews

As we get ready for Rosh Hashana, a time of gratitude and reflection, we will be appreciating you, our customer, and asking how we can improve your experience with Challah Connection for 5780 and beyond. Thank you!!

Jane Moritz
Chief Maven Officer, Challah Connection

 

 

 

 

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Glazed Salmon Fillets with Dill Mustard Sauce

Looking for something easy and delicious to serve this weekend? One of our mavens cooked it over the weekend and raved about it! Just add some fresh vegetables, rice or quinoa and of course challah and dessert!

 

 

 

 

For glaze and sauce

-2/3 cup white wine vinegar

-1 cup dijon mustard

-1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar

-2 cups of vegetable oil

-Freshly ground black pepper to taste

-3 tablespoons soy sauce

-¼ cup chopped fresh dill sprigs

 

-Two 2 ½-3 lb whole salmon fillets with skin any small bones removed with tweezers.

 

Make glaze and sauce:

In a bowl whisk together with vinegar, mustard and brown sugar. Whisk in oil in a stream until emulsified and season with pepper and salt. Mixture may be made 3 days ahead and chilled, covered.

Bring mixture to room temperature and whisk before proceeding. Transfer ¾ cup mixture to a small bowl and stir in soy sauce to make glaze. Whisk dill into remaining mixture to make sauce.

Preheat broiler and grease a broiler pan or jelly-roll pan.

Rinse Salmon fillets and pat dry.  Arrange fillets skin side down, in pan. (Cook 1 at a time if broiler is small.) Brush salmon with glaze and season with pepper and salt.  Broil Salmon 3 to 4 inches from heat about 8 minutes or until just cooked through.

Serve salmon warm or at room temperature with sauce.  Serve 16 as part of buffet.

 

Gourmet Magazine, September 1996

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Mishpacha=Family=Love

Many of you know that I recently celebrated a birthday and for the many of you who sent me birthday greetings: THANK YOU! I was so touched by your words and that you took the time to send me heartfelt wishes. You made me feel loved and for that, I thank you.

One of the greatest gifts I received this birthday is the deep reminder of the true definition of family, which, in my opinion, is LOVE. I spent my birthday weekend in Northern California with my 4 siblings and our spouses, who travelled from Israel, NY, CT and CA. One of my sister’s also had a birthday and for the first time—ever?—we shared our birthdays (mine is 7/20 and her’s 7/21).

Since we are scattered all over the world and don’t get together too often as the sizable clan that we are, we spent the weekend doing our favorite things:

  • cooking
  • eating
  • talking
  • laughing
  • walking (gorgeous hikes along the cliffs overlooking the Pacific) and
  • hot tubbing

Sounds like bliss, right? It was! When Sunday morning rolled around, we said our sad goodbyes but knew that we were all touched by each other and vowed to do this again. I’ll be sure we do! Here are some photo highlights.

Enjoy, Jane Moritz, Chief Maven Officer

 

Sea Ranch, CA

Birthday Girl Susan

Birthday Girl Jane

Birthday Sisters 🙂

 

Not sure what “Mishpacha” means? It’s Yiddish for “family.” Want to learn some more Yiddish? Check out our Yiddish glossary.

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Happy Birthday America…and Me too (not the #)

From the western slope of the Green Mountains, I want to wish you all a day of summer warmth and celebration, fun, and of course, great food! It’s our country’s 243rd birthday and there is no better excuse to pull out summer favorites, whatever they may be for you..hamburgers, hot dogs…

In anticipation of my own upcoming birthday, I want to share with you a wonderful tradition that my Dad, Julian created. For his birthday, Dad would give US–his 5 children–a gift. It was his way of showing his love and gratitude for us.

My Birthday Gift to You

Starting today through my birthday on July 20, take 20% any order over $20. The promo code is JANESDAY20. It would be my pleasure to have to you use the code for as many orders as you’d like and share our website and promo code with others.

What’s Your Birthday Tradition?

We all have favorite ways to spend birthdays. What’s yours? Could be a favorite cake, favorite adventure or just your favorite way to spend your special day. Please email me at jane@challahconnection.com with the subject line “My Birthday Tradition” and let me know. And, don’t forget to wish me a happy birthday!

With gratitude and in the spirit of summer fun,

Jane Moritz
Chief Maven Officer

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Why Ceremonial Challah at a Jewish Wedding?

The torrential downpours of the spring have subsided, flowers are in bloom and wedding season is upon us!  It’s such a beautiful time of year here in Connecticut, it makes us want to celebrate here at Challah Connection.  Speaking of celebrations, let’s talk about the very important tradition of the blessing of the challah (hamotzi) at a Jewish wedding, bar/bat mitzvah or brit milah.

We all know that challah is an important staple during Shabbat, but it is also very important during these Jewish milestone ceremonies, and for such occasions, the ceremonial challah is a wonderful choice.  Being that it is so large, the ceremonial challah allows everyone to come together and take part in the ritual.

Ceremonial Challah for Jewish Wedding

 

The hamotzi is given over the ceremonial challah after the ceremony has been completed and before the meal is served. Typically at a wedding, the ceremonial challah is served after the cocktail hour, and at a bar/bat mitzvah and the brit milah after the conclusion of the ceremony, before the food is served.  The prayer is usually given by a parent/parents or an honored guest. After the blessing, the challah is cut and distributed to all of the guests… a delicious and meaningful way to join in the celebration!

Have questions? Happy to answer them!! Please email or call us at 866-242-5524. Please order 2 atleast 2 weeks before your simcha.

 

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Gluten Free Salted Caramel Brownie Recipe

About a month ago, a friend came to our apartment for Shabbat and brought us a challah from the new Upper West Side kosher and gluten free “foodie spot,” Modern Bread and Bagel. I knew I had to get there to check it out as a possible new Challah Connection partner and for me personally, since I am a lover and baker of all things “Jewish baked goods” (challah, babka, rugelach etc) and I am also gluten free.

I went there on a Sunday in April, just before Pesach, shortly after it had opened. Needless to say, it was packed! I asked for the bakery manager and I met Orly, who is the owner and mastermind. She could not have been lovelier–and calmer!-given the maddening crowd around her. We are working on bringing our Challah Connection gluten free customers some of her delicious goodies but in the meantime, Orly has allowed me to share her recipe for these mouthwatering, delicious, gluten free brownies. Thank you Orly and I hope you all enjoy these as much as my family and I have.

Sea salt-speckled copper-colored homemade caramel is drizzled on a rich dark chocolate brownie. The rum gives the recipe the extra kick it needs for a batch of gooey, decadent, rum spiked brownies, perfect for dessert parties or a sneaky midnight snack.

Recipe yelds 9 large or 18 small brownies

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
3 oz semi-sweet dark chocolate chips or squares
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups sugar
½ tsp coarse salt
½ Tbs vanilla extract
3 eggs
1 ½ cups Sydney Blend–this is a flour blend that Orly makes and can be purchased at Blends by Orly, or use your favorite all purpose gluten free flour
1/3 cup Rum

Caramel sauce:
½ cup sugar
1 ½ Tbs water
¼ cup cream
1oz Rum
Coarse sea salt

Heat: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and butter a 9 x 9 inch baking pan.

Mix: Place butter and semi-sweet chocolate in a medium sized sauce pan and heat on low. Stir every few minutes until completely melted and smooth.  Remove from heat and transfer to a mixing bowl.  Stir in cocoa powder, sugar, salt, and vanilla. Beat in eggs one at a time until completely mixed in. Stir in Sydney Blend and then rum until completely mixed.

Bake: Using a rubber spatula, scrape batter into prepared baking dish and smooth the top. Place in the oven to bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Caramel Sauce: While the brownies cool, start on the caramel sauce. Add sugar and water to a small sauce pan and bring to a boil over high heat. Do not stir.  Boil the syrup for 6-8 minutes or until a deep amber caramel forms. Remove from heat and stir in cream. Add Rum and stir until combined. Pour the caramel sauce into a heatproof cup and let it cool slightly.  If caramel gets too hard, place in the microwave for 10 seconds to liquify.  When ready to use, drizzle on top of the brownies and then sprinkle sea salt on top.

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How to Write a Shiva Gift Message

For many of us, writing the gift message to accompany a shiva gift is perhaps the hardest part of sending a sympathy or shiva gift. Because death elicits uncomfortable feelings, we are at a loss for words. Or, we often try to convey too much in the message. So, let me me teach you how to write a shiva gift message.

I always remind shiva gift givers that mourners are not scrutinizing their message. Why aren’t they? First, there is no time for this sort of critical review of your gift message since there is much activity during shiva. Second, mourners are not in a mental “space” to be critical of your words. They are pleased that you have thought of them with your gift and message. With that, here is some guidance for you when writing a gift message for your shiva gift:

  1. Keep your message simple. Don’t try to “jam” lots of thoughts into it. One key message is appropriate.
  2. Be authentic, heartfelt. Humor is not appropriate. Use your own unique voice.
  3. Don’t forget to sign your name. Your name or who sent the gift is truly the most important word(s) on the gift message.
  4. Here are some of our most popular shiva gift messages at Challah Connection. Feel free to use one or revise it to your own voice.

-With heartfelt sympathy
-Our thoughts are prayers are with you during this difficult time
-We are so sorry for your loss and send our warmest condolences to you and your family
-May [name of deceased] be a blessing to all who knew him/her
-May G-d comfort you among the mourners of Zion and Jerusalem

Please call 866-242-5524 or email challah@challahconnection for any questions. Our FAQ will also provide more info and finally, here is a link to our shiva gift department. We ship nationwide.

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Enter to win our Dairy Maven Recipe Contest

Challah Connection Spring 2019 Dairy Maven Recipe ContestAfter a long winter of heavy, belly-warming foods, we welcome Springtime, when we enjoy light meals, many containing dairy. Some of our favorite dairy foods are fresh cheeses, yogurts and creamy ice creams. Dairy meals are also perfect for Spring holiday…blintzes for Father’s Day (mmm, delicious), creamy cheesecakes for Shavuot (is your mouthwatering yet?) and lox and bagels for Sunday brunches are some top choices.

So, just as the flowers are bursting and the grass is shooting up, let’s get our culinary juices flowing. Dust off the cookbooks or family recipe trove and send us up to 3 of your favorite dairy recipes. All of the details are below, and be sure to keep your eye on the prize: First prize: Free Lox with a Schmear, Second and Third Prizes: Chocolate babka, all from Challah Connection(read on for details).

How to enter: Send us your favorite dairy recipe(s). What recipes qualify? Any recipe that makes dairy (ie cheese, cream cheese, cream, butter, yogurt, etc) a key ingredient. Recipe ideas: blintzes, crepes, cheesecake, lasagna, manicotti or other similar dishes, ice cream/ice cream sundae, fruit tart, quiche or vegetable tart, kugel, cake.Challah Connection Spring 2019 Dairy Maven Recipe Contest

First prize: FREE Lox with a Schmear (a $39.99 value, feeds 2-4) Includes silky smoked salmon, our classic cream cheese and six toasting bagels.

Second & Third Prize: Chocolate babka (a $16.99 value, feeds 6-8).

Deadline: All entries due 6/4, Winners announced 6/7.

How to enter: Email your recipes to challah@challahconnection.com. Include “Recipe Contest” in the subject line.

Questions: Email any questions to challah@challahconnection.com. Include “Recipe Contest Question” in the subject line.

Challah Connection Spring 2019 Dairy Maven Recipe ContestRules:

-Recipes cannot include meat

-3 recipes maximum per entrant

-Winner must be agreeable to sharing recipe on social media and to challah connection customers via email and blog. Complete name will not be published for privacy reasons.

-Recipes must conform to standard format: 1) Recipe name 2) Ingredients with measurements 3) Procedure in clear, easy to understand language. If you have an image of the cooked/prepared recipe that you have prepared, please send! A picture of you holding your creation would be terrific.

Good Luck and Bon Appetit!

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My Mother’s Day: Just “hanging” with the boys

Jane Moritz international nosher

My sons asked me what I wanted to do for Mother’s Day on Sunday. To be honest, I don’t really want to do much. No fancy meals, no theater tickets, no massage or foot rub. I’ve gained a deep appreciation for actively doing nothing. Sure, I love walking, yoga, biking, cooking and eating great food but more and more, I like to just “hang.” So, this Sunday, I’m looking forward to “just hanging” with my boys (correction: MEN) and eat something delicious (MUST BE DELICIOUS, ALWAYS). If the weather is nice, exploring a new NYC neighborhood and finding an interesting hole-in-the wall for noshing sounds like a great day.

What are you going to do this Sunday? If cooking is on the agenda, here are some terrific recipes that we’ve curated over the years. Here’s a couple of recommendations for dishes I would make if I were cooking this Mother’s Day:

 

 

Cremslach–Cottage Cheese Pancakes

Makes about 18 pancakes

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup 4 percent cottage cheese (you could use low fat if you prefer)
  • 3/4 cup milk (whole or low fat)
  • 3/4-1 tsp salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar (optional)
  • 1 cup matzo meal
  • Grapeseed or other acceptable Passover oil or 2 tablespoons butter for frying

In a bowl, with a fork, beat together the eggs, cottage cheese, milk, salt, and sugar. Stir in the matzo meal. Set aside for 10 minutes.

Click for Complete Recipe

Tomato & Onion Tarte

Submitted for our Dairy Recipe Contest by S. Urist

Ingredients

  • 2 large onions (about 1½ pounds), sliced thin
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • butter pastry dough for a single crust 12 inch tart (recipe follows)
  • ½ pound dry Jack or Gruyere cheese, shredded (about 2 cups)
  • ½ pound plum tomatoes cut into ½ inch wedges
  • ½ pound medium yellow tomatoes (about 2) or ½ pound plum tomatoes, cut into ½ inch wedges
  • ¼ cup Niçoise olives, pitted

In a large, heavy skillet cook onions with salt to taste in oil, covered, over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 20 minutes. Remove lid and cook onions, stirring occasionally, until golden and any liquid evaporates. Remove skillet from heat to cool onions slightly.

Click for Complete Recipe

Whether you cook or are fed by loved ones, I wish you a very happy Mother’s Day.

Jane Moritz

Chief Maven Officer

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