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Op-Ed: Rosh Hashanah as a new immigrant to Israel

Judith Abramson made Aliyah to Israel six years ago. She explains what it’s like for her to celebrate Rosh Hashanah in Israel and what she misses the most about celebrating at home with her family.
Judith (right) with her family during a childhood Rosh Hashanah Photo Credit: Judith's instagram

Ever since I can remember, Rosh Hashanah has been my favorite Jewish holiday. Growing up in a southern Jewish community, I remember bragging to my gentile friends that I got to celebrate two New Years’: one secular and one Jewish. I just loved everything about it from getting dressed up in my nicest clothes to sitting with my family in synagogue. But most importantly, was the delicious mouth-watering food, which combined both Jewish and southern recipes into one bringing my larger-than-normal family together.

Six years ago, I made Aliyah to Israel, joined the IDF and never looked back. However, the high holidays are by far the most difficult two weeks of the year for me. I come from a very large close-knit family and I definitely feel their absence during this time.

Judith with her Israeli host parents several years ago on Rosh Hashanah Photo Credit: Judith's instagram

Don’t get me wrong, it’s great to not have to take off time from school or work or miss important social events because of the high holidays. It’s also great that everyone around me is also celebrating. But I just really miss the corn soufflé, the green bean casserole, the potato and noodle kugels, the mushroom and barley, and the brisket: oh, the brisket!

Since making Aliyah, I spend most holidays with my host family from my kibbutz, who adopted me into their family when I was a lone soldier in the IDF. My host mother’s cooking is also incredible, but sometimes, the family is out of town, in which case I go to friends’ homes. I guess it’s kind of cool that I’ve experienced both Sephardic and Ashkenazi-styled Rosh Hashanah gatherings, but I don’t think I’ll ever be able to fully cope without my mother’s heavenly brisket.

JOL Blogger | Judith Abramson

Judith immigrated to Israel from the United States after finishing high school. She is currently completing her B.A. in Sociology and Anthropology at Tel Aviv University and is very passionate about languages and cultures. She was a sergeant in the IDF, serving as an F-16 technician.

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