Hallah loaves are baked in a variety of shapes for Rosh Hashanah.

A ladder (or turban-like shape) on the hallah bread expresses the wish that the family's prayers might ascend to heaven. Dough baked in the shape of a bird represents the same wish. It also stands for the words of the Prophet Isaiah: As birds protect their young, so will God protect Jerusalem. A hallah loaf might be topped with a baked, or plastic, crown, signifying the kingship of God. A separate loaf in the shape of a wing likens the goodness of the people around the table to the goodness of angels.

© Miriam Chaiken
Reprinted with permission

Other foods:
Apples and Honey , Pomegranate, Fish

Other traditions: Tzedakah , Tashlich