As the chazan prepared to blow the shofar, moms and kids flooded the shul. One new arrival sat behind me, no children in tow. The older woman next me me turned and asked, in surprise, “Where are the kids?”

“With my husband,” she said, with relief. “He davened earlier.”

“That’s good,” the older one said definitively.

“Good for who – he was up at 5:45 this morning?” the younger laughed.

“He wanted children?” asked the elder.

“Huh?” said the mom.

“He wanted children?” the older one repeated, now facing the mom. “He wanted children, he should do this.”

And with that, the chazan blew the shofar.

Rosh Hashana for Coworkers

Rosh Hashana for Coworkers

My former coworkers thought they were my mother. If I coughed in a meeting an outpouring of support ensued.

“Hannah, here’s the number for a doctor,” one would say.

“Drink tea with lots of honey,” another would add. “There’s hot water in the kitchen. Do you need more hot water?”

The third would likewise scold and cajole. And then she’d buy me gloves with a stylish ruff.

As with my own mother, they were loving and thoughtful and drove me crazy.


Thankfully, I never pointed out to them that I have a mother who has already told me to take care of myself, go to bed early, marry a nice boy, and drink tea when I have a sore throat. They felt good watching over me, I felt loved and underpaid, and we all got along. Then I found a new job.

Like the strong women they are, their eyes might have filled, but no one cried until I left the room. Except for one who let her tears fall freely. Ignoring those tears, she focused on me. “You don’t know what you have,” she said seriously. “You’re young. You don’t know. Here you have people who love you. You don’t get that. When you find a place you work with people who love you, you don’t leave.” Then she congratulated me and said it was a good thing for me to get a new job.

I suspected she was right and have done my best to keep in touch. I write from time to time and drop in when I can. They say it’s not enough – and so does my mom.

However, my keeping in touch has prompted interesting calls and emails. Such as this email which had neither a greeting nor closing remarks. Do you think someone’s account was hacked? Or, like my mom, she knew I would understand, without being told, that she’d sent me a Hadassah recipe.

Sticky Toffee Apple Pudding for Rosh Hashanah
Serves 8-10.

This sticky toffee honey dessert is enriched with the tartness of cooking apples for the perfect Yom Tov dessert.

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup non-dairy margarine or butter
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
2/3 cup honey (or corn syrup)
2 eggs
4 tablespoons soy milk or whole milk
1 cooking apple
Juice and grated zest of 1/2 lemon
8 dates, pitted and finely chopped
4 tablespoons crystallized ginger, finely chopped (optional)

1. Preheat the oven to 325 and line an 8-inch round, loose-bottomed cake pan with parchment paper.
2. Sift the flour with the baking soda and cinnamon into a bowl. Melt the margarine with the brown sugar and honey (or corn syrup) in a small pan. Set aside to cool slightly. Beat the eggs with the milk in a large mixing bowl. Peel and grate the apple and mix with the lemon zest and juice. Combine with the egg mixture and stir in the dates and ginger (if using). Pour in the melted honey mixture and combine thoroughly. Quickly fold in the flour and spices and spoon into the prepared pan.
3. Bake in the oven for about 1 hour until the cake is gloriously golden brown and risen. Insert a toothpick—it should come out clean if cooked. Serve hot or cold with ice cream and enjoy for a sweet, good year. This dessert keeps for days and is sticky and delicious.