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Jewish trends to look out for in the New Year

  • Jewish food trends 2015 bagel
Last year babka was big, this year bagels are making a comeback. Here’s what to look out for in 5778 in the Jewish world and beyond.
by TALI FEINBERG | Sep 14, 2017

Baby names

According to kveller.com, the American-Jewish parenting website, the name Eve and its sister names Eva, Chava and Ava, are all trending. Lila (meaning “night”), Abigail (meaning “my father is joy”) and Sarah or Zara (meaning “princess”) are also popular.

For boys, the name Asher is at the top of both Jewish and general naming lists. Meaning “happiness” or “joy”, Asher was the eighth son of Jacob and is one of the 12 tribes of Israel.

Two other sons of Jacob and 12 tribes, Levi and Benjamin, are also popular, while classics like Ethan or Eitan, Zachary, Judah, Ezra and Elijah or Eli, are rising up the ranks.

Home

You may have seen the word “hygge” (pronounced HOO-gah) in various magazines - the Danish concept of finding well-being and satisfaction through coziness and simple things. A more complete definition is “it is a holistic approach to deliberately creating intimacy, connection, and warmth with ourselves and those around us”, according to The Cozy Life by Pia Edberg.

Hygge is a huge trend at the moment, but it may have come from a much older tradition - Shabbat.

“My family already enjoys some of the best aspects of hygge every Friday night. I thought about the checklist for hygge and realised Shabbat hits all the big ones. Candles? Check. Unplugging from devices? Check. Wine? Check. Family? Food? Check and check!” writes Marlene Kern Fischer.

“It does seem ironic that the obsession du jour is embodied by a ritual observance instituted in the Ten Commandments. I guess it’s another example of the adage, ‘What’s old is new again’,” she says.

So, start with Shabbos, and let it guide you to bring more “hygge” into your home. On the opposite end, minimalism is also very popular, and you could aim to create a “capsule wardrobe” and clean out your cupboards to give tzedakah.

Food and drink

Firstly, the Cheesecake Factory has made its way to Israel’s north, and will soon be expanding around the country. It is currently not certified kosher, but is working on gaining certification.

Secondly, the Jewish deli is far from dead. “Fifty years ago,” says Jake Dell, owner of Katz’s Delicatessen on the Lower East Side in New York City, “there were thousands of traditional Jewish delis in New York City”. Now, you may find five.

“But it is not going away,” says Dell. “A new generation is coming along, young people who remember the deli taste from childhood and are opening delis across the US, not just in New York, many of them with some new twists on the old formulas.” So, watch this space!

Locally, the hippest restaurants are serving “Jew food”, like Sea Point’s Jarryd’s serving a smoked salmon bagel with “caper popcorn” and Kleinsky’s making traditional food the trendiest in town, with home-baked challah, French toast, chicken and kneidel soup, a huge selection of bagels, and hot pastrami on rye.

Following the trend of all things unicorns and rainbows, we may be seeing more “rainbow challah” on our Shabbos tables, with each strand a different colour - a real showstopper for a celebratory Shabbat!

Birthday cake babka is also making a splash - it’s a cross between funfetti birthday cake, coffee cake, and a traditional sweet babka.

Fashion

In 2014, kveller.com noticed a trend of more modest fashion on the red carpet, and it only appears to be growing. Vogue reports that sisters Simi Polonsky and Chaya Chanin are Orthodox Jewish fashion designers with a booming business.

The pair run The Frock NYC, a label that produces modest clothing and provides tailored, on-trend looks, such as long-sleeved silk dresses and oversize shirtdresses.

“The rise of a brand like The Frock NYC comes at a time when fashion as a whole is adapting to become more sensitive to religious styles of dressing,” reports Vogue.

Locally, Rebbetzin Sarah Feldman has her own “modest and modern” fashion line: “The way I see it, adhering to modesty guidelines does not mean that one needs to be frumpy and not look after yourself. My range respects the laws of modesty, but is still stylish, fashionable and can be worn and treasured by all women regardless of faith, background or religious preferences,” she says.

Weddings

According to Jewish wedding website Smashing the Glass, we might see more brides choosing to incorporate a bit of colour into their bridal looks, while others will have “overskirts” that lead to two different looks for the chuppah and party. Long sleeves are also a big trend at the moment. One bride suggests choosing a long veil, so you can use it to hang over your future child’s crib!

Couples are also getting creative with the actual chuppah, using fabric, glass, foliage and lighting to make an out-of-this-world wedding canopy.

Many of us have special memories of machaneh and summer camp wedding venues can be seen on Pinterest. “Who doesn't have fond memories of the warm days and nights spent among pine trees and around the campfire? Campgrounds harken to a simpler time, making us sentimental in the process, so it's no wonder that they've become a big trend for weddings,” writes Tara Block on Popsugar.

“If you're planning an outdoor wedding, then having it at a campground or a summer camp could be an affordable and fun option. The natural setting requires little more than some handpicked wildflowers to make it wedding-ready. But really, the sky's the limit!” she says.

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