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A Taste of Symbolic Foods on Rosh Hashanah Rabbi Prof. David Golinkin

A Rosh Hashanah tradition of eating symbolic foods (simanim) is intended to help us ensure a good new year. The list of simanim varies between the Ashkenazic and Sephardic traditions.

Listen to Rabbi Professor David Golinkin, President of The Schechter Institutes, put on his Sherlock Holmes hat as he dives into the sources of some traditional Rosh Hashanah delicacies.

Enjoy the culinary journey from the simanim mentioned in the Talmud (listed below) to the current French/Israeli tradition of eating a banana on Rosh Hashanah. Spelled “banane” in French, it sounds just like Bonne Année – French for Happy New Year!

Watch the video:

The eight symbolic foods (simanim) mentioned in the Talmud Rosh Hashanah symbols are:


Leek or cabbage






Head of a sheep or fish

David Golinkin is President of The Schechter Institutes, Inc. and President Emeritus of the Schechter Institute of Jewish Studies. For twenty years he served as Chair of the Va’ad Halakhah (Law Committee) of the Rabbinical Assembly which gives halakhic guidance to the Masorti Movement in Israel. He is the founder and director of the Institute of Applied Halakhah at Schechter and also directs the Center for Women in Jewish Law. Rabbi Professor Golinkin made aliyah in 1972, earning a BA in Jewish History and two teaching certificates from The Hebrew University in Jerusalem. He received an MA in Rabbinics and a PhD in Talmud from the Jewish Theological Seminary of America where he was also ordained as Rabbi. For a complete bio click here.

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