One of the most popular and well-known food customs on Rosh Hashanah involves dipping apples slices into honey. This sweet combination stems from an age-old Jewish tradition of eating sweet foods to express our hopes for a sweet new year.

And with Rosh Hashanah nearly upon us once again, Temple Israel would like to invite the Omaha Jewish community to help us begin a new High Holiday tradition and join us for our first ever apple picking pilgrimage.

On Monday, September 17, Rabbi Josh Brown, his wife Carrie and their daughter Hannah, will be meeting other members of the congregation at Arbor Day Farm, 2611 Arbor Ave., in Nebraska City, for an afternoon of orchard fresh apple picking and a hike through scenic nature trails.

“In our blessings over food we mention the place from which the food originated as a sign of our connection to a greater power,” Rabbi Brown said. “In the blessing over wine we mention the vine. In the blessing of bread we mention the earth. And in the blessing of apples we mention the fruit of the tree. How fitting at this one of counting our blessing that we not only recite the blessings with our children, but also show where our food comes from. In picking apples ourselves we will bring our blessings to life.”

Arbor Day Farm is home to a 50-foot high tree house that will be available to climb for the more adventurous among us. The tree house offers a true bird’s-eye view of life in the forest and allows you to relax and soak up the sights, sounds and smells of nature.

“When I saw that they were doing apple picking as a congregation after Rosh Hashanah services, I thought that was an awesome idea,” said Ann Osborne, mother of Lindsay, 13, and Robert, 11. “I’m really excited to go.”

Ann and her husband Don are looking forward to spending the day with other people from Temple Israel and all their kids together.

Arbor Day Farm also features The Discovery Ride, a one-hour journey through the more than 250 acres of forest and farmland, during which a guide will share interesting nature facts and historical tidbits.

Arbor Day Farm provides a rich educational experience, with “nature challenges” to solve and arts and crafts to create. It’s sure to be a fun experience for any family.

Apple picking will be held regardless of the weather, rain or shine. Admission is $6.50 for adults and $4.50 for children ages 3-12. The Discovery Ride is an extra $4 for adults and $3 for children. To RSVP, email Temple Israel at or call 402-556-6536.