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Monday, September 6, 2021

The story of Dom, my Rosh Hashana fish head

Observant Jews have a custom of placing a fish head on our festive table on the first night of the holiday of Rosh Hashana, which is the Jewish new year. Customarily, the fish head is cooked and consumed by those that have the stomach for it. At my table, none of my family has ever been interested in eating a baked fish head, so it was symbolically displayed for the start of the meal, and then discarded shortly after.

My wife and both daughter's aversions to looking at a  raw fish head vs smelling a cooked fish head, has always caused come contention regarding this custom. Somehow, custom has always prevailed, and over the years, I have had a slew of interesting and unique heads on our table, as opposed to the standard store bought salmon head (or perhaps carp in some cases), that most people take for granted. Perch, walleye, bas, pike and even a frozen musky head have all graced our table, some in frozen form, others cooked. Same outcome year after year, women around the table all get grossed out and complain about the so called "archaic" custom.

A couple summers ago, I managed to land a decent size musky from my float tube. Being that I had no landing net, and that I was in the water with a thrashing musky with giant trebles sticking out of it's face, I had to wear it out a bit more than I would normally do, in order to land it without risking injury to myself.

 As we were mid August with the water temp over 75 degrees F, the musky didn't make it, despite my trying to revive it for a good 15-20 minutes. 


 As it keep floating up onto it's back, I knew it wasn't going to survive, so I decided to harvest the musky. A friend's mom kept asking me to bring her some fish, and as she wasn't picky about the species, I figured I'd fillet and debone it for her, while harvesting another cool looking trophy head for my Rosh Hashana table.

Upon opening the musky, I noticed a large bulge in it's stomach. Always being interested in seeing what my captures were feeding on, I opened it, and to my surprise, found a 13 inch muskrat? inside.

After severing and freezing the head, I decided to splurge, and have it professionally mounted, thus avoiding the yearly squabble, and at the same time, preserving it for the future. I eventually found a taxidermist to mount it for a decent price. Though it took nearly 18 months for me to get it back, I finally have a permanent Rosh Hashana mount that won't put off anyone around the table, as well as another good fishing tale to go along with it.

Shana Tova to all my family and friends!


Bob Lubarsky said...

That’s a really great “fish” story. My Bobba would have loved that fish to make gefilte! All the best for the new year.
Bob Lubarsky

Bob Lubarsky said...

That’s a really good “fish” story. My Bobba would have loved to have it to make gefilte.
All the best for a sweet and successful year.
Bob Lubarsky

Phil C said...

Not a carp head!

Unknown said...

Love this story, interesting, humourous and keeps the reader engaged throughout. May the new year have many blessings for you and your family.