I did some research and found that the name is derived from the fact that the recipe is completely dairy free. It uses orange juice instead of milk and oil instead of butter. Thus making it appropriate for the Jewish holiday; Rosh Hashanah.
How true this is, I really don't know, but it sure sounds good. If anyone has any other theories I'd love to hear them.
The recipe below is the one I use. It was passed on to me from my old neighbor, Lucy, who's been baking up this version for years.
Jewish Apple Cake
2 cups sugar
1 cup oil
2 1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup orange juice
3 cups flour
3 tsp baking powder
For the apples
2-3 green apples sliced
5 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp cinnamon
Beat eggs and sugar until combined. Add oil, vanilla, and orange juice mix well. Add flour and baking powder beating until smooth.
In another bowl mix sliced apples, sugar, cinnamon and lemon zest.
Grease and flour a tube pan. Pour 1/2 of the batter in and then the apple mixture. Top with the rest of the batter.
Bake at 350 for 1 hour.