Never too early to get sweet on St. Louis apples – – St. Louis Jewish Light

Posted By on August 22, 2022

Jordan Palmer, Chief Digital Content OfficerPublished August 21, 2022

Apples have always been a big part of our Jewish home. As the spouse of an elementary school teacher, I always hand deliver a basket full of fresh apples to school. One apple per student, and of course one for Leigh, or Mrs. Palmer as she is known.

When my now two college-aged kids were young, we used to get ready for Rosh Hashanah by making an annual trip to Eckerts Farm to pick our own apples. And with Rosh Hashanah just about a month away (begins at sundown on Sunday, Sept. 25 and ends at sundown on Tuesday Sept. 27.), you can do the same because pick-your-own apple season is underway right now at the Belleville and Grafton locations with fresh Gala apples. Pick-your-own Honeycrisp apples will be available at both farms Sept. 2 5. The Millstadt farm will open on Wednesday, Sept. 7, with Jonathan apples for picking.

The classic symbol of the Jewish New Year is the apple dipped in honey. We do this to express our hopes for a sweet and fruitful year. But where does this tradition come from? There is nothing written in the Bible or the Talmud saying all Jews must dip apples in honey. In fact, in some Jewish homes, challah is dipped in honey for the same reason.

But for many Jewish families, including my own, the extra sweetness of the apple combined with the tanginess of the honey only makes for an even sweeter experience.

Really, the main reason apples are traditionally eaten on Rosh Hashanah is based in nature, not religion, said Rabbi Randy Fleischer of Central Reform Congregation. Because apples are identified with autumn, and the Jewish year changes in that season, a time of change in the natural world, which Jews hope we can mirror and be more open to change in ourselves as well.

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Added Congregation Bnai Amoonas Rabbi Carne Rose: Apples are sweet on their own, and the added combination of apples and honey, which come from the bee, adds an additional sting.

There is a sting that exists in life. Getting that honey can come with price. This is true when someone is looking for renewal at the beginning of a new year.

There is one overtly Jewish religious meaning surrounding apples, besides the Adam and Eve story.

In mystical Judaism, apples represent the divine presence (Shechinah), that we hope is with us as we do the challenging High Holy Day work of evaluating the previous year and resolving to be more loving, compassionate, generous, etc. in the year that has just begun, said Fleisher.

The cost of pick-your-own apples is $1.99 per pound plus field access starting at $2.50 per person if purchased in advance (children under 2 are free). Among the farms four locations (Belleville, Ill., Grafton, Ill., Millstadt, Ill. and Versailles, Ky.), they grow more than 20 varieties of apples each year from Golden Delicious to Fuji apples, and lesser-known varieties such as Arkansas Black Apples and Crimson Crisp. Guests can purchase field access passes and stay up to date on crop availability on Eckerts website.

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Never too early to get sweet on St. Louis apples - - St. Louis Jewish Light

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