Yom Kippur

Easy Break-Fast Buffet for Yom Kippur

The Jewish high holiday of Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, will be observed this year from sunset on September 27 to nightfall September 28. For the 25-hour period, many Jews follow religious law that includes fasting and abstinence from work.

Typically, at the conclusion of Yom Kippur, friends and family gather to break the fast. This year’s holiday may be different due to COVID-19 and social distancing. Traditional Yom Kippur services may be taking place online and the traditional fast-breaking meal may not be the gathering you’re used to.

However, the spiritual significance of this rich holiday will still remain — including the wonderful foods served when the fasting is over. And as is true every Yom Kippur, the holiday presents a practical dilemma. How do you prepare these foods when abstaining from work — including cooking — is required? Here are some easy tips for preparing a break-the-fast spread that will leave you free to observe this special time, whether you’re just with your immediate family members or a few special guests.

Set Up for Serving

Whether you’ll serve from a sideboard, dining table or another surface, set things up the day before Yom Kippur. Getting tablecloths, dishes, serving pieces, silverware and decorations ready ahead of time will eliminate any last-minute scrambling.

Break Fast with Brunch

Although breaking the fast happens at night, it’s become a tradition in some families to eat breakfast and brunch items, or to eat a menu that leans on dairy and fish rather than meat. Start with an assortment of bagels (buy them a day ahead and store well-covered) a few cream cheese spreads, lox, slices of ripe tomato, thinly sliced or chopped onions and capers.

Hearty Extras

Satisfy tradition and appetites with the addition of smoked whitefish (in a salad or a spread), pickled herring, tuna salad and gefilte fish. Purchase or make these dishes ahead of time, then store them together in the refrigerator for easy access. Round things out with some beautiful braided challah. Think quality over quantity for the most satisfying nosh.

Keep it Refreshing

One of the rigors of fasting for Yom Kippur is abstinence from any beverage, including water. Fresh fruits and green salads, along with an assortment of still and sparkling waters, are perfect for quenching thirst after the fast. For a tasty and unique option, infuse pitchers of water with mint sprigs and sliced fruit.

Show Your Sweet Side

A noodle kugel, made a day ahead and reheated, is a combination of tradition and comfort food at its best. A few more treats, such as bite-sized rugelach and buttery babka, will also help satisfy those sweet cravings.

Whatever you serve, you may want to “direct traffic” at your buffet to ensure social distancing. Have everyone take turns filling their plates rather than letting everyone go at once. You may even consider having a designated server so that just one person handles the serving utensils. It all depends on the comfort level of you and your guests.

Safely and conveniently preparing for meals before and after Yom Kippur is simple when you shop online for delivery or pickup. Here’s to tzom kal — an easy fast. Make the most of the 2020 holidays as we adapt in these unexpected times, and let’s hope for large and joyful high holiday gatherings next year!

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