Webster's New World College Dictionary defines the word kiddush as a "prayer recited over wine or bread on the eve of or on the day of the Sabbath or of a festival so as to set the day apart as holy." The Torah refers to two requirements concerning Shabbat and festivals -- to "keep it" and to "remember it" (shamor and zakhor). One must "keep it" by refraining from 39 forbidden activities, and one must "remember it" through the kiddush blessings.
Kiddush is recited immediately following the holiday services on the first two nights and first two mornings of Sukkot. It's a wonderful opportunity for family and friends to get together -- either at the local synagogue sukkah or at ones at private homes.
A hearty wine (grape juice is fine, too) and some baked treats complete the happy picture.
Apple Coffee Cake
1 cup warm water
1 envelope fast-acting yeast
31/4 cups flour, sifted (divided)
1/2 cup pareve margarine, at room temperature
1 cup sugar and 1 Tbsp. sugar (divided)
1/2 tsp. salt
2 Tbsps. pareve margarine, melted and cooled
3 cups thinly sliced, peeled and cored apples
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
Place warm water in a large mixing bowl. Sprinkle with yeast and stir to dissolve. Stir in 11/2 cups flour. Beat until smooth.
Cover and let rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Stir in 1/2 cup of the room-temperature margarine, 1/2 cup sugar, salt, and remaining flour. Beat well.
Spread the dough in a lightly greased 8-inch square baking pan. Spoon 2 tablespoons melted and cooled margarine, and 1 tablespoon sugar, over dough. Cover; let rise until double in size.
Preheat oven to 375°.
Press the sliced apples into dough, distributing evenly. Combine the cinnamon and the remaining 1/2 cup sugar. Sprinkle over the apples.
Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until golden and beginning to pull away from sides of pan.
Coffee Coconut Clusters
1 cup pareve chocolate chips
1 oz. pareve margarine
1 tsp. espresso powder
3/4 cup flaked coconut
Melt the chocolate chips with the margarine in a double boiler over low heat or in microwave. Remove from heat. Stir in espresso powder and coconut.
Let cool a few minutes.
Form into 1-inch balls and place in fluted cups.
Sacher Torte Cookies
1 cup butter, softened
1 package (3.9 oz.) instant chocolate-pudding mix
2 cups flour, sifted
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup apricot preserves (substitute strawberry, raspberry or mixed-fruit jelly)
Glaze Ingredients (optional):
1/3 cup chocolate chips
1 Tbsp. butter
Cream the butter and the pudding mix in a large mixing bowl.
Beat in the egg.
Add the flour; stir until thoroughly combined.
Preheat oven to 325°.
Shape the dough into 11/4-inch balls. Roll in 1/4 cup sugar. Place 2 inches apart on parchment paper-lined baking sheets.
Gently press a thumb into the center of each ball to make an indentation.
Bake for 15 to 18 minutes, until firm but not dark. Remove from baking sheets and cool on a wire rack.
Fill the indentations with the different preserves.
For Optional Glaze: Melt the chocolate chips and butter in a small saucepan over very low heat, stirring constantly.
Remove from heat and cool slightly.
With a spoon, carefully drizzle the glaze over the cookies.
Rivka Tal is a food writer based in Jerusalem.