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JEWISH HOLIDAYS SOLEMN AND SWEET.

Byline: Dana Bartholomew Staff Writer

One man will refrain from misdeeds on the tennis court. A woman vows to be less bossy. And an 8-year-old girl promises not to annoy her cousin.

As the sun sets this evening, Jews in Los Angeles will join those around the world in celebrating the start of their new year and a period of forgiveness and personal renewal.

With the sourness of penance comes the sweetness of honey, the fellowship of services and the dear moments with family and friends during the 10-day high-holiday period from Rosh Hashana to Yom Kippur.

``Round challahs - I just do the eating - the cycle of life,'' said Cantor Avrum Schwartz of Shomrei Torah synagogue in West Hills, lining up with dozens of Jews at Continental Kosher Bakery in Valley Village, which this week expects to sell more than 1,000 loaves of its holiday bread.

``It's a holiday of remembrance, judgment and soul-searching, tempered with the phrase, `Have a good, sweet year.'''

Rosh Hashana - or ``head of the year'' in Hebrew - begins at sundown today and continues until sunset Thursday. It is a day of deep soul- searching. Of resolving to correct past mistakes. Of repairing relationships. Of making commitments to do better, to be better.

The holiday ends 10 days later with Yom Kippur, a day of atonement when Jews confess their sins to God, resolve not to repeat them and seek forgiveness.

And in between comes the nectar of apples dipped in honey, sweet pomegranates and carrot tzimmes - or carrots cooked with fruit. And loaves and loaves of fresh-baked challah - toasted egg challah, sesame, raisin and more - in round or turban shapes.

From across the San Fernando Valley, customers lined up at Jewish bakeries. And nowhere were fans more yeasty with delight than at Continental Kosher Bakery, where they waited for Emily Polon's latest recipe: apple-cinnamon challah.

``Oh my God, it's cake,'' exclaimed Sylvia Rubin of North Hollywood, nibbling a sample. ``How about two - two loaves - and a honey cake, and a sponge cake.''

Rubin said she's thrilled to spend the holiday with her family, to go to services and to ``hope there'll be health and peace in the world.''

Polon, who owns the bakery with her husband, Eddy, said she imbued her challah with transformative sweetness.

``The apple-cinnammon challah is a new beginning,'' she said, proudly. ``Tasting it with honey will take you to a place of peace.''

But some said it would take much more than the high holidays to atone for past wrongs.

``Every day I have amends - with all my misdeeds, you cannot wait,'' said Schwartz. ``You haven't seen me on the tennis courts.''

Susan Grodsky of Burbank said she is excited about a new holiday beginning. This year, she resolved to talk more with her daughter who's off at college.

``I'm working on trying to be less bossy,'' she said. ``I'm trying to be nicer. I'm a team player, but I'm trying to be more of a team player.''

Sheila Golden, also of Burbank, drove all the way to Valley Village for an apple-cinnamon challah, which she said has a new ``subculture of Jewish fans.''

Her 8-year-old daughter, Erin, said she will say she's sorry for annoying her little cousin.

But for Continental manager Tiran Kindil, a native of Israel, no apologies are necessary after Rosh Hashana.

``For me, it's a new beginning; it's a point to start creating again,'' said Kindil, 32. ``What I like about it is 10 days after Rosh Hashana, you have Yom Kippur, when you cleanse yourself.''

Dana Bartholomew, (818) 713-3730

dana.bartholomew(at)dailynews.com

CAPTION(S):

2 photos

Photo:

(1 -- color) Preparing for Judaism's high holidays, Ben Berger, 12, a student at Abraham Joshua Heschel Day School, blows with all his lung power into a shofar Tuesday in Northridge.

Tina Burch/Staff Photographer

(2) Emily Polon holds a tray of her apple-cinnamon challah that draws lines of buyers to Continental Kosher Bakery, which she and her husband own, in Valley Village.

David Sprague/Staff Photographer
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Sep 15, 2004
Words:671
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