Huffpost DC

Rosh Hashanah Apples, Honey And Pomegranates

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Extend your Rosh Hashanah festivities through the weekend by heading out to pick your own apples. Yes, it's getting late in apple season, but some area PYO farms have apples in the tree, among them Rock Hill Orchard in Mount Airy, Md. There you can still get Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, Jonathan, Jonagold and Empire apples off the tree. Local honey, from the farm, is also available, rounding out the simplest part of Jewish New Year food traditions.

Virginia's Hartland Orchard, in Markham, still has Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, Granny Smith, Stayman and York apples for the picking. They've got local honey, for your (belated) Rosh Hashanah needs -- and a corn maze, pig races and pony rides just for fun.

Of course, not to go and spoil everything, but back in Biblical times, Rosh Hashanah was not actually celebrated with apples.

"Apples are not an ancient custom," said Jordan D. Rosenblum, an assistant professor in the University of Wisconsin at Madison's Department of Hebrew and Semitic Studies, who writes about Jewish food traditions. Rosenblum told The Huffington Post that apples are a medieval addition to the Rosh Hashanah meal. He also said that he wished people would celebrate evolving holiday traditions as a mark of a holiday's continued relevance, rather than seeing new traditions -- insofar as a tradition dating back to medieval days can, indeed, be considered new -- as somehow illegitimate.

"Part of what I end up doing is destroying Christmas for a lot of people," Rosenblum said. "And I feel bad about it. But just because Biblical Israelites were not consuming apples at Rosh Hashanah does not take away the fact that there was some celebration of this using food items. And that's OK."

The earlier Rosh Hashanah fruit is the pomegranate, which, to the best of our knowledge, cannot be picked anywhere in the D.C. area except for at the grocery store.

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