Jewish Holiday Cooking


Food is an important part of any Jewish holiday celebration. It is used to bring people together, celebrate the holiday and can even be symbolic, in some instances. For each Jewish holiday, there are traditional foods as well as forbidden foods.


Judaism is full of traditions, many deriving from the Bible. The food made during holidays reflects this, and is usually tied in to a holiday story during the meal.

Rosh Hashanah

Rosh Hashanah is one of the holiest holidays in the Jewish calendar. Traditional foods for Rosh Hashanah include apples and honey, and a round challah (as opposed to braided). Honey symbolizes a "sweet" year, since this holiday is the Jewish New Year. A round challah is symbolic of the circle of life and the hope for a perfect year.


Chanukkah is a holiday that celebrates the Festival of Lights, when the small bit of oil enabled the menorah in the Temple to burn for eight days, even though there was only enough oil for one day. Therefore, many Chanukkah foods are fried in oil. Latkes (potato pancakes) and sufganiyot (fried jelly doughnuts) are two traditional holiday treats.


This holiday is a celebration of the Jews' exodus from Egypt and from slavery. The matzah eaten during Passover symbolizes the bread the Jews carried on their backs during the Exodus. There is a seder plate on the dinner table with food symbolizing parts of the Passover story, like the salt water symbolizing tears, and the horseradish symbolizing the bitter times.


Shabbat, or Sabbath, is observed from sundown on Friday night to sundown on Saturday night. Traditional Sabbath meals include challah, the braided bread, and cholent. Cholent is a slow-cooked stew consisting of brisket, beans, potatoes, barley and spices.


  • Judaism 101
Keywords: Jewish cooking, holiday food, Jewish food

About this Author

Jaime Herndon has been writing for health websites since 2009 and has guest-blogged on SheKnows. After graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in psychology and women's studies, she earned a Master of Science in clinical health psychology, and a Master of Public Health in maternal-child health. Her interests include oncology, women's health and exercise science.

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