Celebrate the Jewish High Holidays on a Budget
The Jewish High Holiday season is here. Rosh Hashanah, the two-day Jewish New Year, begins September 16 at sundown, and homes will be filled with guests and delicious food. Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, is up next. This most holy of Jewish holidays starts September 25 at sunset. And after 25 hours of fasting, hungry guests will be making their way toward the homes of welcoming hosts, some of whom also prepared for the New Year holiday.
Photo by sxc.hu/claraM
Hosts will see dollar signs for days.
If this is you, stop and take a deep breath. There's no reason you can't do the Jewish High Holidays on a budget. We asked Mara Storm, the blogger behind Kosher on a Budget, how best to rejoice in the holidays without stressing about the cash outflow.
Here are some tips for celebrating the Jewish High Holidays on a budget.
1. Plan ahead.The key to saving while spending is to plan the meals in advance and buy what's needed before crunch time. Planning the menu a few weeks early, Storm says, means you can watch for sales and pick up non-perishable items when the price is right.
2. Eat Light.We know it's Rosh Hashanah, but not every meal needs to be a carnivore feast. Even if you're serving meat, you can enjoy the Jewish High Holidays on a budget by filling guests' plates with salads and side dishes. "I've finally realized that four heavy meals in 48 hours are too much," Storm admits. "This year, we'll be having a soup and salad meal on the second night, which will be lighter on our waistlines and our wallets." Her plan: honey mustard salmon served over a bed of mixed greens with honey balsamic dressing. Still pining for brisket? Storm suggests the "long and low" cooking method, which makes second cuts of meat a better choice than first cuts and knocks about 25 percent off the cost. Storm is particularly loyal to her Coca-Cola brisket.
Photo by morguefile.com/davi
3. Do your research.Keeping kosher (a set of dietary laws that observant Jews follow) while sticking to a budget for the Jewish High Holidays is a challenge. Kosher food can be expensive. Scour the grocery store aisles for products that are certified kosher but are not a "traditional" kosher brand, such as Osem and Manischewitz. To find coupons for kosher food, search the Kosher on a Budget coupon database. After entering the name or type of product you wish to buy, the database will pull up a large list with relevant coupons and tell you where to find them.
4. Get your guests involved.Say "yes" when guests offer to bring food. A side dish here and there contributed by others can slash $20-$40 from each meal, Storm notes. If you keep kosher but your guests don't, Storm recommends asking them to bring challah from a kosher bakery or produce for fruit salad; pomegranates and other new (seasonal) fruits can be used for the blessings. And don't be shy about asking for help -- friends and family will feel good about getting involved in the preparations.
5. "What should I bring?"If you're the guest and the hosts keep kosher but haven't asked for your help, bring a tray of prepared treats anyway. Storm suggests David's Cookies, which would make a tasty addition to the break-the-fast table after Yom Kippur. If you use the coupon code "koab2012" you'll save $5 off your order and get free shipping through the end of September.
Shana Tova U'metukah (Have a Good and Sweet Year)!