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Rutherford Rebbetzen's Rosh Hashanah Recipe Hails From England, Australia

The Lerman children help mom Bina in the kitchen.
The Lerman children help mom Bina in the kitchen. Photo Credit: Bina Lerman
Pieces of lettering on the side of Lerman's synagogue are missing. The wood needs sanding.
Pieces of lettering on the side of Lerman's synagogue are missing. The wood needs sanding. Photo Credit: Cecilia Levine
Rutherford's Bina and Yitzchok Lerman outside of their Montross Avenue home.
Rutherford's Bina and Yitzchok Lerman outside of their Montross Avenue home. Photo Credit: Cecilia Levine

RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year, begins Sunday night — and homes throughout Bergen County smell delicious.

Daily Voice caught up with some of our readers for their favorite recipes and where they got them.

This one is from Bina Lerman, whose husband, Yitzchok, is the rabbi of Congregation Beth-El in Rutherford.

"It is customary to eat carrots on Rosh Hashanah because the Yiddish word for carrots is meren, which can also be translated to mean more . We pray that this year our life should be filled with more sweetness.

Growing up, my mother would make the traditional tzimmes (pronounced tsimm-ess) with delicious sweet raisin dumplings. As kids, we would eat the dumplings and leave the carrots on the side!

When I asked my mother why she continues to make tzimmes for every Jewish Holiday despite our obvious contempt for the carrots, she responded that her grandmother in England would make it every [high holiday] and it was a special treat for her growing up there.

It was then that I realized that enjoying tzimmes "skips a generation". It travels from grandmother to granddaughter. I always took it for granted that while I don't particularly like the stewed carrots, my kids would because my mother would make it for them.

The trouble is I live in Rutherford, while my parents live in Melbourne, Australia.

It dawned on me that if I didn't make tzimmes for my kids, I would break this unspoken chain. I was on a mission!

I found this great recipe in the "Spice and Spirit" or "The Purple Cookbook" as it's colloquially called. I made a few alterations to fit my family's taste and often multiply the recipe to serve my 30+ Rosh Hashanah guests.

Needless to say it is enjoyed by everyone, young and younger.

What you'll need (yields four servings):

  • 1 pound stew meat, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 onion, diced
  • Oil to saute onions
  • 2 sweet potatoes, cubed
  • 4 thick carrots, cut into 2-inch slices
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup white grape juice
  • 1/2 pound prunes (optional)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

In a 2-quart saucepan, sauté onions until just starting to brown. Add cubed meat and sear on medium flame. Add all remaining ingredients except prunes. Cover and simmer 30 minutes. Pour into 9x13 pan. Add prunes.

Preheat oven to 350F and bake uncovered in oven for about 45 minutes."

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