First of all, and before I present my design philosophy, I want to wish us all that despite the coronavirus epidemic, we will be able to sit together around the holiday table, with our whole extended family.
Rosh Hashanah is such a family-oriented holiday, with all its hopes for a good year, renewal, blessings, looking forward, and righting wrongs. This year, as Rosh Hashanah approaches, we’re all a little tired, preoccupied, wondering… The past few months have positioned us like mirrors for ourselves – who we are, and how we choose to behave when meeting the new challenges facing us.
The coronavirus epidemic is forcing us to constantly think differently, in all life domains. It is getting us accustomed to a new reality, compelling us to be creative.
So, how do we celebrate a family holiday in a situation that precludes physical proximity? How do we create a table that meets social distancing requirements? How do we arrange a festive table, distinguishing it from the everyday, during these financially challenging times?
We’ve put together a few tips on how to have a festive Rosh Hashanah in spite of the situation.
Sitting in capsules
If in schools, kindergartens, and universities – then, why not in our own homes?
Sitting together, but separately.
Arrange a few small tables, in accordance with the number of nuclear families, two meters apart from each other, whether inside the house (for those who can), out in the garden, or on the balcony. You can still have a festive family experience, you protect everyone’s health, and you can do away with the stuttering collective Zoom meeting.
The serving dishes will, of course, be smaller as well, and suitable for serving on smaller tables.
An opportunity to display modesty and humility
The overall gloomy atmosphere that has been dictated by the coronavirus era in Israel and around the world, influenced our thinking toward a more simple, modest design style that isn’t extravagant or ostentatious, and which can easily be achieved in any home by using fewer decorative elements. This also leaves more room on the table for the food, which is, after all, the purpose for which we are gathering… :)
The white tableware did the job wonderfully, as did the classic white cotton tablecloth and matching napkins. At the same time, we wanted to give some emphasis to the festive occasion, and made the whiteness “pop out” with our gold-plated silverware, which almost always features in our table designs. Why change a “winning” horse in midstream?
Devote some thought to choosing and arranging the flowers
Here we’ve played with airy touches rather than dense arrangements, and placed the flowers in vases with an identical design language. We, of course, used AV Design vases with their clean, minimalist lines.
We recommend buying loose flowers rather than a dense, readymade bouquet. Look for flowers that last for a long time, such as gypsophila (baby’s breath), sea-lavender, and so on, so the table will continue to blossom throughout the holiday, and combine them with wildflowers growing around the house, and branches from various trees. We chose olive branches – the symbolism of which, in Judaism in general and the Land of Israel in particular, needs no explanation.
A uniform language
To create a uniform language for all the tables, and to avoid a mix of multiple styles, we chose to use white, “clean”, unadorned, neutral tableware, round or square (both for serving and eating).
If you want to add variety, and make it more interesting while still maintaining neutrality, you can combine transparent glassware or wood serving dishes.
We placed a pair of candlesticks on the table to emphasize the holiday’s holiness and festive atmosphere
TISHREY Rosh Hashanah Plate
A plate that represents all the goodness we wish for, the blessings for the new year. We gave it pride of place in the center of the table. The elements of the blessings are simply arranged, but with a great deal of attention.
Wishing us all Shanah Tova, may we sit around the holiday table with our loved ones, may we weave memories and exciting experiences, may we be blessed with good health. And, may we remember to be good.
One good deed leads to another. Please, let us not lose ourselves. Our greatness in times like these lies in being the best we can possibly be, and in supporting others.