WILKES-BARRE — The apples were sweet. The honey was sweet. Mix them together and ….
“You’re wishing for a good year, a sweet year,” Charlotte Klavonski, of Plymouth, explained as nine women prepared a healthy New Year’s treat at the Jewish Community Center on Wednesday morning.
Members of the local Jewish community celebrated Rosh Hashanah, the beginning of the Hebrew year 5779, from sundown Sunday to sundown Tuesday in various ways.
“We went to Temple,” Evelyn Orlov, of Wilkes-Barre Township, said.
“I made a brisket,” Marsha Spear, of Shavertown, said.
Apples and honey are a traditional part of the celebration as well, and on Wednesday, when the center reopened after a two-day holiday break, the Jewish Community Alliance’s director for adult and cultural services Barbara Sugarman had gala, Cortland, ginger gold and honey crisp apples ready for people who wanted to make their own desserts.
“We’re starting to add new programs,” she said of the new, monthly cooking class. “We want people to come in the morning and stay all day.”
Other new programs, designed mostly for retirees who are able to visit the JCC during the day, include an ice cream social planned for 12:30 p.m. Sept. 26, a fall wreath craft-making session set for 11 a.m. Sept. 27 and line dancing at 1 p.m. on the second Wednesday of the month (next one Oct. 10).
The second cooking class, planned for October, will feature “the perfect side dish,” shlishkes, which Sugarman described as seasoned mashed potatoes, rolled in bread crumbs and deep fried.
“We’re starting with something simpler today,” she said as members of the first cooking class sliced the tops off their apples and used ice cream scoops to hollow the centers of the fruit.
“I should have brought my corer,” Pat Flynn of Wyoming said.
“Actually, corers don’t take out enough,” Sugarman said. “You want more room to put stuff in.”
The good stuff that went into the hollowed apples included walnuts, pecans and raisins, topped with a teaspoon of honey, a teaspoon of orange juice and some cinnamon.
Then the tops went back on, for a lid effect, and the apples headed to an oven to spend the next 20 minutes or so baking.
“Apples have vitamin C. That helps fight disease,” Sharon Matylewicz, the senior resource and wellness coordinator, pointed out.
“An apple a day keeps the doctor away,” Margaret Rydock, of West Nanticoke, said.
“Margaret is right,” Matylewicz said, adding that the fiber in apples is good for you, too. “Does anyone know where the fiber in apples is?”
“The skin,” said Marsha Spear, who had already proven she knows a lot of apple lore when she showed off the five-pointed “star” you can see inside an apple if you slice the core horizontally.
“Sept. 26 is Johnny Appleseed Day,” Spear added, reminiscing about how, when she taught in the Dallas School District, her students observed that day by enjoying apples “Brace’s Orchard was kind enough” to supply.
Reach Mary Therese Biebel at 570-991-6109 or on Twitter @BiebelMT