Rosh Hashanah: Frugal Recipes & Free Services for Financially Strapped Jews « Frugal Café Blog Zone

Rosh Hashanah: Frugal Recipes & Free Services for Financially Strapped Jews

Posted By on September 8, 2010

Vintage Rosh Hashanah card, circa 1900: Many Rosh Hashanah greeting cards were decorated with or, as here, took the form of ships conveying the holiday greeting | Photo credit: Flickr, Yeshiva University Museum, Creative Commons


America’s economy is the worst it has been in three decades, and unemployment is currently at 9.6 percent — much higher in many major US cities, like Las Vegas and San Francisco. Families across the nation are strapped financially, and any added expense adds to the stress they’re already experiencing.

Frugal offerings, recipes, and free services, however, are available to Jews as they prepare for the Jewish high holiday Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. The day is also known as the Feast of the Trumpets. It’s observed on the first day of the seventh month, Tishri, occurring usually in September.

From Israel Nation News, ‘Free Prayer’ Across America for Rosh HaShanah:

As Jews around the world prepare for the Rosh HaShanah New Year’s holiday, North American families this year will have many more options for places to pray than ever before.

The High Holy Days, as the New Year and Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement are called, often are a time for scrambling to ante up for the annual synagogue membership.

Paying for one’s synagogue seats can mean added stress after the recession has taken such a large bite out of the family coffers, and often less-than-observant Jews decide to skip the service.

This year, however, quite a number of congregations and Jewish community centers are offering “no-cost” services, or discounted seats for members of the general public. Many advertise in local Jewish newspapers, and some have even taken to issuing public service announcements on the local Jewish radio programs.

The Chabad-Lubavitch Chassidic movement always offers free High Holy Day services at numerous college and university campuses, and in most cities across North America. Locations can be found by clicking here.

From Suite 101, More Synagogues Are Offering Jews Free Services for Rosh Hashanah:

Jews across the world are gearing up for Rosh Hashanah, which starts the sunset of September 8, 2010, and is followed by Yom Kippur approximately 10 days later.

For many North American Jewish families, the High Holy Days are a time for attending synagogue and celebrating the holidays as a family. Many have already paid for their synagogue seats, but a growing number of families are finding that the 2010 recession and continuing financial crisis have made paying for religious services an impractical option. Instead, they are turning to free services or coming up with innovative options to work within their shrinking budgets.

This year, an increasing number of synagogues and Jewish community services will be offering “no-cost” synagogue services or discounts on tickets to the public. In addition to the free Orthodox services traditionally offered by Hasidic organizations such as Chabad, a number of Reform, Conservative and egalitarian communities are organizing programs at no cost to the public.

On the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah, Jews typically eat foods that symbolize good things they hope for in the coming year.

Some inexpensive recipes with a video demo are available at WABC ABC7online… Rosh Hashanah on a budget:

(WABC) — Rosh Hashanah is less than two weeks away. Jamie Geller, Chief Foodie Officer and VP of Content and Marketing for, joined us with tips and recipes for sticking to a budget during the Jewish high holiday.

Here is one of the Rosh Hashanah recipes provided from the WABC — visit the site for all of them and for the video, which I’ve been unable to embed:

Honey Chicken

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
Chill Time: none
Yield: 4 servings (under $4 per person)

* 1 chicken, about 3½ pounds, cut into 8 pieces
* ¾ cup honey
* ¼ cup soy sauce
* ¼ cup olive oil
* 1 tablespoon garlic powder
* 1 teaspoon black pepper

1. Preheat oven to 375° F. Lightly grease a 9 x 13-inch pan with non-stick cooking spray.
2. Rinse chicken, pat dry and place in prepared pan.
3. In a small bowl, mix together honey, soy sauce, olive oil, garlic powder and pepper and pour over chicken.
4. Bake, uncovered, at 375° for 1 hour until slightly browned.


Despite its name, this chicken is not too sweet. The olive oil, soy sauce, garlic and pepper temper the honey perfectly.

Suggested Wine

Hagafen 2004 Estate Bottled Napa Valley Pinot Noir

The mix of savory and sweet in this dish calls for a wine of good body and complementary flavors. The spicy jam flavors of this Pinot will match wonderfully.

I found this easy, inexpensive sweet brisket recipe at, Kosher Food, Rosh Hashanah:

Recipe for Sweet Brisket

Brisket, when correctly cooked and cut, is festive, fragrant, flavorful, and fork-tender. This simple brisket recipe produces moist, sweet meat. Enjoy this popular cut of breast meat for Passover Seder, Rosh Hashanah, or any Jewish holiday or Sabbath meal.

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 4 hours
Total Time: 4 hours, 15 minutes


* 1 brisket, 7-8 pound, washed and drained
* 1/2 cup oil
* 1/2 cup Coca-Cola
* 1/2 cup dry red wine
* 1/2 cup honey
* 6-8 Tbsp. ketchup
* 2 onions
* 1 tsp. paprika

1. Place brisket in a roasting pan. Chop all seasonings in food processor and pour over brisket. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator overnight.
2. Preheat oven to 325° Fahrenheit (165° Celsius).
3. Bake at 325° Fahrenheit (165° Celsius) for approximately 4 hours, or until a digital instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the brisket reads 190° for well done.
4. When cool, thinly slice the brisket against the grain. It is very important to slice the brisket correctly. If the meat is not sliced against the grain, it will be tough.

SERVING SUGGESTION: Make gravy with drippings from the meat. Melt 4 Tablespoons of parve margarine in a heavy saucepan. Slowly stir in 4 Tablespoons of all-purpose flour (use potato starch instead of flour during Passover). Cook and stir for approximately 3 minutes, or until margarine just starts to darken. Slowly stir in 2 cups of drippings. Continue cooking and stirring until gravy thickens to desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper. Serve slices of brisket with gravy.

Tip: It is best to prepare the brisket a day before it is served as the taste is enhanced after it sits in the fridge.

Passover Kosher cooking does not allow for flour as an ingredient (as listed in the gravy ingredients). Potato Starch or Matzo Meal can be used as an alternate.

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About the author

I'm a conservative frugalist. My priorities: Watchdogging the government, making sure our tax dollars are spent wisely, living within our budgets (at home and in Washington, DC), and adhering to our Constitution and the conservative principles upon which it was developed by our founding fathers. Also, loving God, my family, and my country. Be wise, be frugal. God bless America!      


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