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Yom Kippur Traditions:  Kreplach Recipe

October 26, 2008
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Pious men often wear a white outer robe called a kittel. Rabbi Benjamin Blech explains that the kittel is also the shroud men are buried in. “On the Day of Atonement, we have to confront the fact that we spend most of our lives denying that we will die some day and be no more. Yom Kippur forces us to realize that we have to lead our lives more fully, that we dare not waste any moments or opportunities, because there is so much to do and so little time in which to do it.”

What symbolic food would be appropriate for such a fast day? An ancient 11th-century Jewish custom provides an answer. Though rarely practiced today, flogging oneself across the back with a leather strap 39 times (Deut. 25:3), as he confessed his sins, was customary in some regions. Eating kreplach, a meat or cheese-filled dumpling, evolved around the 14th century. The chopped ingredients of the meat filling reminded them of the flogging.

As the new year’s somber beginning ends, the hope for a new, sweet year ahead is celebrated with a feast. Herring, a very salty fish, is often served to induce a thirst and cause the person who has fasted from water to drink again. This also fits with the story of the big “fish” in Jonah, which is read during Yom Kippur. Also read is Isaiah 58:6–11, God’s prescription for any fast we observe.


• 6 c. flour
• 4 tsp. salt
• 2 tsp. baking powder
• 2/3 c. canola/vegetable oil
• 2 1/2 c. warm water

Make dough and let rest for an hour.

Meat Filling:
Roll out dough on floured surface 1/8–1/4 in. (3–6 mm) thick. Cut 2-in. (5-cm) circles. Place a meat ball in the center of each circle. Pick up one piece of dough with the filling and fold it in half. Pinch the dough all the way around the edge into a half-moon. If the dough doesn’t stick together, flour your fingers before you pinch or brush the inside of the dough with water. Pinch the two ends together so it’s round. Cook in salted, boiling water with a little oil. After they float to the top, simmer one minute. Remove with slotted spoon and place in a colander.

To eat, add to chicken soup. To freeze, rinse with cold water, toss with oil, place on a paper-lined baking sheet and freeze. Then place in bags and store in freezer.


Photo Credit:

Photo Credit: www.israelimages.com/ Yehoshua Halevi

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