by Talya Hyman, Shalom New Haven Intern
Just as spiritual preparation is needed as we approach the High Holy Days, holiday meal preparation simultaneously remains an important feature of our religious traditions. Jewish people are known to be major foodies (our friends and neighbors still can’t believe that we prepare Thanksgiving-worthy meals every week for Shabbat!), and we wear our chef badges with pride.
Our foodie tendencies are heightened during the autumn months when Rosh Hashanah and Sukkot-- which fall close together on the Hebrew calendar-- demand the preparation of consecutive, extravagant festive meals. Where do the many kashrut- (Jewish dietary law) observing households throughout our Greater New Haven community do their extensive holiday grocery shopping?
Fairway Market in Stamford offers a selection of steak, beef, and brisket cuts, and the Crown Market in West Hartford has a butchery department with roasts, corned beef, and lamb availabilities. Additionally, Waterbury Kosher World sells breads, dairy products, frozen food, and other grocery necessities.
Households throughout Greater New Haven also take advantage of Woodbridge-based Abel Caterers by ordering from their take-out menu. Orders may include singular dishes to enhance your already-prepared holiday menu, or full meals to get you away from the kitchen and out spending more time with friends and family.
Also, just in time for this year’s holiday season, Abel Caterers will stock prepackaged glatt kosher beef and poultry products om an expansion at the JCC’s Café 360 facility. They are also planning to launch an online store for weekly orders that will be available for pickup at Café 360 on Thursdays and Fridays. These initiatives will provide individuals who frequent our community building with new, convenient and accessible kosher options.
Neighborhood grocery store chains such as Stop and Shop, ShopRite, and Trader Joe’s provide kosher shoppers with basic groceries, packaged goods, and OU-certified Empire Kosher poultry. Wholesale store Costco offers a kosher food section with mostly frozen offerings such as salmon and hors d’oeuvres. The Edge of the Woods natural foods market also has kosher groceries available for those seeking a larger selection of organic and natural products.
Kashrut-observers are thankful for these local and convenient kosher resources, yet the opportunity to purchase an extensive variety of affordable kosher groceries, as well as fresh meats, poultry, and fish-- which are commonly eaten and enjoyed to enhance the celebratory nature of Jewish holidays-- remains a luxury not so easy to come by.
Moreover, the New Haven local Westville Kosher Market closed its doors at the end of May after a 34-year run. Those who had relied on this kosher neighborhood establishment for its specialty meats, take-out goodies, homemade dips, and Israeli products have been feeling the loss. This has created an increased desire throughout Greater New Haven for the option of fresh and high-quality kosher products.
With this in mind, many kashrut-observers make the trek to large Jewish communities in New York-- with freezer bags in tow-- to stock up on kosher favorites for the approaching holidays. Grocery stores in Monsey like Evergreen Kosher Market and Rockland Kosher Supermarket are exclusively stocked from floor to ceiling with a plethora of strictly-kosher food brands. A large variety of meat and fish delicacies are also readily available for purchase. When our Jewish holiday meals are prepared and eaten with the intention of enhancing the intrinsic holiness of the day, the very food itself becomes elevated, too. So no matter if your kosher food is purchased from near or far, the way to our hearts (and souls!) may very well remain through our stomachs.