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Jewish Food 101 | My Jewish Learning

Posted By on March 3, 2024

Jewish food is difficult to define. Over time, Jews have eaten many different types of foods, often no different from those of their gentile neighbors. Nonetheless, the foods Jews have eaten bear the stamp of the unique socio-economic and migratory patterns of the Jewish community, while also reflecting the Jewish dietary laws (kashrut) and other religious requirements; for instance, the prohibition against creating fire on Shabbat inspired slow-cooked Sabbath stews in both Sephardic and Ashkenazic cuisine.

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Seven types of produce are mentioned in Deuteronomy 8:8 wheat, barley, grapes, figs, pomegranate, olives and dates. Legumes, wild plants, and meat mostly mutton were also eaten in biblical times. The dietary laws found in the Torah, and analyzed in detail in the Talmud, governed all eating in ancient years. The Torah and Talmud also enumerate other food-related laws, such as those related to the shmita or sabbatical year, during which all land must lay fallow.

Sephardic cuisine refers to the foods eaten by the Jews of the Mediterranean, North Africa, the Middle East, the Red Sea regionand India. Most of these lands were once part of the Islamic world, and they reflect the varied yet related food customs of this culture. In the early Middle Ages, the Jews in Islamic lands flourished culturally and economically. Their foods reflect this socio-economic position in quality, quantity, and presentation. After the Jews were expelled from Spain in 1492, most Sephardic Jews made their way to North Africa and the Ottoman lands, where they continued to influence and be influenced by local cuisine.

In contrast to Sephardic Jewry, most Ashkenazi Jews those from Europe and Russia were very poor, and their food reflects this. Ashkenazic food also reflects the migration of a community first based in Germany that ultimately spread eastward to Russia and Poland. What Americans usually refer to as Jewish foodbagels, knishes, borscht are the foods of Ashkenazic Jewry, and indeed, in many cases were foods eaten by the non-Jews of Eastern Europe as well.

The Jewish style food of America is an enriched version of Ashkenazic cuisine. However, Jews existed in the U.S. long before the major wave of Eastern European immigration in the beginning of the 20th century. Though early Jewish life was located primarily in the major cities on the East Coast, Jews traveled and lived throughout the United States, and their foods were influenced by local custom and availability. Matzah balls with hot pepper in Louisiana and gefilte fish made from salmon in the Far West are examples of Americas influence on Jewish cuisine. The recent interest in health food has also affected Jewish eating. Derma (stomach casings) and schmaltz (chicken fat), once staples of Jewish cooking, are rarely used today.

Most of Israels culinary experts believe that Israel has yet to develop its own national cuisine. The foods most commonly referred to as Israeli foods like hummus, falafeland Israeli salad are actually common to much of the Mediterranean and Arabic world. Nonetheless, because of its international citizenry, certain government-sponsored kashrut laws, and the recent surge in American fast food which produced a kosher McDonalds eating in Israel is a unique experience.

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Ashkenazi Jewish cuisine – Wikipedia

Posted By on March 3, 2024

The cuisine of the Ashkenazi Jews is reflective of their journey from Central to Eastern Europe and then to the Americas and Israel.[3] Ashkenazi Jews are a Jewish diaspora population which coalesced in the Holy Roman Empire around the end of the first millennium CE. This population progressively migrated eastward, and established population centres in the PolishLithuanian Commonwealth (a nation which then consisted of territories currently located in parts of present-day Belarus, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Poland, Russia, Slovakia, and Ukraine).[4] Ashkenazi communities have also historically been present in the Banat, a region in central and eastern Europe that consists of parts of present-day Serbia, Romania, and Hungary. As a result, the cuisine of Ashkenazi Jews was highly regional in the past, and has also been influenced by a diverse range of European cooking traditions, including German, Italian, Slavic, and Ottoman cuisines.

A common refrain is that the food of Ashkenazi Jews is the food of poverty. Indeed, Jews in Europe generally lived at the sufferance of the gentile rulers of the lands in which they sojourned, and they were frequently subjected to antisemitic laws that, at certain times and in certain places, limited their participation in the regular economy,[5] or in land ownership and farming.[6] This situation forced many Jews into intergenerational poverty, with the result being that for many Jews, only basic staples were available. Luxury items like meat and imported foods such as spices were not commonplace for anyone but the wealthy. However, the wealthy had access to imported goods like spices, olive oil, and exotic fruits, and they were able to eat meat more frequently.

While the majority of Jews who have been living in the Western Levant and Turkey since the time of the first diaspora have been Sefardic, Mizrahi, and other non-Ashkenazi Jews, Ashkenazi communities also existed among the Jewish communities of the southern Syrian provinces in the Ottoman period (the Old Yishuv), and Turkey.[7] Evidence of cross-cultural culinary exchange between Ottoman and Ashkenazi cuisines can be seen most readily in the food of Jews in the Banat, Romania, and Moldova, particularly pastrami and karnatzel.[8]

A stereotype of Ashkenazi food is that it contains few vegetables relative to other Jewish cuisines.[9] While there is some truth to this allegation, it was most true in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, a period during which many eastern European Ashkenazi Jews experienced particularly extreme deprivation (including in terms of the availability of food), that coincided with the advent of industrial food processing. "Modern kitchen science" and industrial food processing continued and accelerated into the mid-20th century in the United States, leading to a narrowing of the culinary repertoire and a heavier reliance of processed shelf-stable foods.[10]

Root vegetables such as turnips, beets, parsnips, carrots, black radish and potatoes historically made up a large portion of the Ashkenazi diet in Europe. The potato indigenous to the Americas had an enormous impact on Ashkenazi cuisine, though it reached most Ashkenazi Jews only in the second half of the 19th century.[11] Other vegetables commonly eaten were cabbage, cucumbers, sorrel, horseradish, and in the Banat, tomatoes and peppers. Cabbage, cucumbers, and other vegetables were frequently preserved through pickling or fermentation. Fruits include stone fruits such as plums and apricots, apples and pears, and berries, which were eaten fresh or preserved. Raisins are also historically an integral part of Ashkenazi cuisine since the 14th century.[12] Staple grains included barley, rye, buckwheat and wheat; barley and buckwheat were generally cooked whole by boiling the grains/groats in water, while rye and wheat were ground into flour and used to make breads and other baked goods. Dairy products were common, including sour cream, and cheeses such as farmer's cheese and brindze and kashkaval in southeastern regions. Nuts such as almonds and walnuts were eaten as well. Mushrooms were foraged or purchased.[13]

In North America in the 20th century, Ashkenazi food became blander and less regionally-distinct than it had been in Europe, due primarily to the unavailability of certain ingredients and staple foods, the advent of industrial food processing and modern kitchen science,[14] and poverty and pressures to assimilate.[15] In the early 21st century, however, increased interest in heritage and food history, including that of Ashkenazi Jews, has resulted in efforts to revitalize this cuisine.[16]

The hamentash, a triangular cookie or turnover filled with fruit preserves (lekvar) or honey and black poppy seed paste, is eaten on the Feast of Purim. It is said to be shaped like the hat of Haman the tyrant. The mohn kichel is a circular or rectangular wafer sprinkled with poppy seed. Pirushkes, or turnovers, are little cakes fried in honey or dipped in molasses after they are baked. Strudel is served for dessert.

Kugels are a type of casserole. They come in two types: noodle or potato. Lokshn kugl, or noodle kugel, is usually made from wide egg noodles, eggs, sour cream, raisins, and farmer's cheese, and contains some sugar. Potato kugels (bulbenikes) are made from chopped or shredded potatoes, onions, salt, and eggs, with oil or schmaltz. A regional specialty, kugel yerushalmi (Jerusalem kugel) is made from long, thin eggs noodles, more sugar than a typical noodle kugel, and large quantities of black pepper. It is usually pareve, whereas noodle kugel is dairy and potato kugel may be either pareve or meat-based (if made with schmaltz).

The dough of challah (called barkhes in Western Yiddish) is often shaped into forms having symbolical meanings; thus on Rosh Hashanah rings and coins are imitated, indicating "May the new year be as round and complete as these"; for Hosha'na Rabbah, bread is baked in the form of a key, meaning "May the door of heaven open to admit our prayers."[citation needed]

In Eastern Europe, the Jews baked black (proster, or "ordinary") bread, white bread and challah. The most common form is the twist (koilitch or kidke from the Romanian word ncolci which means "to twist"). The koilitch is oval in form and about one and a half feet in length. On special occasions, such as weddings, the koilitch is increased to a length of about two and a half feet.

The bagel, which originated in Jewish communities of Poland, is a popular Ashkenazi food and became widespread in the United States.[17][18]

The rendered fat of chickens, known as schmaltz, is sometimes kept in readiness for cooking use when needed. Gribenes or "scraps", also called griven, the cracklings left from the rendering process were one of the favorite foods of the former Jewish community in Eastern Europe. Schmaltz is eaten spread on bread.

With kosher meat not always available, fish became an important staple of the Jewish diet. In Eastern Europe it was sometimes especially reserved for Shabbat. As fish is not considered meat in the same way that beef or poultry are, it can also be eaten with dairy products (although some Sephardim do not mix fish and dairy).

Even though fish is parve, when they are served at the same meal, Orthodox Jews will eat them during separate courses and wash (or replace) the dishes in between. Gefilte fish and lox are popular in Ashkenazi cuisine.

Gefilte fish (from German gefllte "stuffed" fish) was traditionally made by skinning the fish steaks, usually German carp, de-boning the flesh, mincing it and sometimes mixing with finely chopped browned onions (3:1), eggs, salt or pepper and vegetable oil. The fish skin and head were then stuffed with the mixture and poached.[19]

The religious reason for a boneless fish dish for Shabbat is the prohibition of separating bones from food while eating (borer).

A more common commercially packaged product found today is the "Polish" gefilte-fish patties or balls, similar to quenelles, where sugar is added to the broth, resulting in a slightly sweet taste.[20] Strictly speaking they are the fish filling, rather than the complete filled fish.[21] This method of serving evolved from the tradition of removing the stuffing from the skin,[22] rather than portioning the entire fish into slices before serving.

While traditionally made with carp or whitefish and sometimes pike, gefilte fish may also be made from any large fish: cod, haddock, or hake in the United Kingdom.

The combination of smoked salmon, or whitefish with bagels and cream cheese is a traditional breakfast or brunch in American Jewish cuisine, made famous at New York City delicatessens.

Vorschmack or gehakte hering (chopped herring), a popular appetizer on Shabbat, is made by chopping skinned, boned herrings with hard-boiled eggs, sometimes onions, apples, sugar or pepper and a dash of vinegar.

Holishkes, stuffed cabbage, also known as the cabbage roll, is also a European Jewish dish that emerged from more impoverished times for Jews. Because having a live cow was more valuable than to eat meat in the Middle Ages, Jews used fillers such as breadcrumbs and vegetables to mix with ground beef. This gave the effect of more meat being stuffed into the cabbage leaves.

A spread of chopped liver, prepared with caramelized onions and often including gribenes, is a popular appetizer, side dish, or snack, especially among Jews on the east coast of North America. It is usually served with rye bread or crackers.

Gebratenes (roasted meat), chopped meat and essig-fleisch (vinegar meat) are favorite meat recipes. The essig or, as it is sometimes called, honig or Sauerbraten, is made by adding to meat which has been partially roasted some sugar, bay leaves, pepper, raisins, salt and a little vinegar. Knish is a snack food consisting of a meat or potato filling covered with dough that is either baked or grilled.

Tzimmes generally consists of cooked vegetables or fruits, sometimes with meat added. The most popular vegetable is the carrot (mehren tzimes), which is sliced. Turnips are also used for tzimmes, particularly in Lithuania. In southern Russia, Galicia and Romania tzimmes are made with pears, apples, figs, prunes or plums (floymn tzimes).

Kreplach are ravioli-like dumplings made from flour and eggs mixed into a dough, rolled into sheets, cut into squares and then filled with finely chopped, seasoned meat or cheese. They are most often served in soup, but may be fried. Kreplach are eaten on various holidays, including Purim and Hosha'na Rabbah.

A number of soups are characteristically Ashkenazi, one of the most common of which is chicken soup traditionally served on Shabbat, holidays and special occasions. The soup may be served with noodles (lokshen in Yiddish). It is often served with shkedei marak (lit. "soup almonds", croutons popular in Israel), called mandlen or mandlach in Yiddish. Other popular ingredients are kreplach (dumplings) and matza balls(kneidlach)a mixture of matza meal, eggs, water pepper or salt. Some reserve kneidlach for Passover and kreplach for other special occasions.

In the preparation of a number of soups, neither meat nor fat is used. Such soups formed the food of the poor classes. An expression among Jews of Eastern Europe, soup mit nisht (soup with nothing), owes its origin to soups of this kind.

Soups such as borscht were considered a staple in Ukraine. Shtshav, a soup made with sorrel, was often referred to as "green borscht" or "sour grass".[23] Soups like krupnik were made of barley, potatoes and fat. This was the staple food of the poor students of the yeshivot; in richer families, meat was added to this soup.

At weddings, "golden" chicken soup was often served. The reason for its name is probably the yellow circles of molten chicken fat floating on its surface. Today, chicken soup is widely referred to (not just among Jews) in jest as "Jewish penicillin", and hailed as a cure for the common cold.[24]

There are a number of sour soups in the borscht category. One is kraut or cabbage borscht, made by cooking together cabbage, meat, bones, onions, raisins, sour salt (citric acid), sugar and sometimes tomatoes.

Beet borscht is served hot or cold. In the cold version, a beaten egg yolk may be added before serving and each bowl topped with a dollop of sour cream. This last process is called farweissen (to make white).

Krupnik, or barley soup, originates in Polish lands; its name comes from the Slavic term for hulled grains, krupa. While non-Jewish recipes for krupnik often involve meat (beef, chicken, pork or a mixture) and dairy (sour cream) in the same recipe, Jewish recipes for meat-based krupnik generally use chicken or (more rarely) beef broth; if made without meat, sour cream may be added.[25]

Teiglach, traditionally served on Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, consists of little balls of dough (about the size of a marble) drenched in a honey syrup. Ingberlach are ginger candies shaped into small sticks or rectangles. Rugelach, babka, and kokosh are popular pastries as well.

In Europe, jellies and preserves made from fruit juice were used as pastry filling or served with tea. Among the poor, jelly was reserved for invalids, hence the practice of reciting the Yiddish saying Alevay zol men dos nit darfn (May we not have occasion to use it) before storing it away.

Flodni, a layered sweet pastry consisting of apples, walnuts, currants and poppy seeds, were a staple of Hungarian Jewish bakeries prior to World War II.

Because it was easy to prepare, made from inexpensive ingredients and contained no dairy products, compote became a staple dessert in Jewish households throughout Europe and was considered part of Jewish cuisine.[26]

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Ashkenazi Jewish cuisine - Wikipedia

American Jewish Cuisine | My Jewish Learning

Posted By on March 3, 2024

The words "Jewish food" tend to conjure up images of Ashkenazic comfort foods like gefilte fish, Sephardic dishes like couscous with vegetables, or Middle Eastern delights like falafel and hummus. But with nearly six million Jewsapproximately 40% of the worlds Jewish populationcalling America home, American Jewish cuisine has become a category unto itself.

Many of the Tribes most iconic foodssuch as blintzes, borscht, and brisketwere considered normal regional cuisine in the countries where they originated. It was not until Jews moved to the United States, and continued eating these foods, that they took on Jewish cultural significance.

In Jewish Cooking in America, author and culinary historian Joan Nathan argues that America has become a major "culinary center" for the Jewish Diaspora. Her comprehensive timeline begins in 1654, when 23 Sephardic Jews arrived in New Amsterdam, and follows the successive waves of Jews arriving in and spreading across the country. Not surprisingly, she tells the tale of a veritable Jewish melting pot (no pun intended!) in a country that "welcomed immigrants from all over the country [and also] incorporated their foods into the diet."

Today, the majority of American Jewish foods can be defined by three common themes: packaging, plenty, and partnership. As Jewish immigrants transitioned from life as poor tenement dwellers to business owners, they began to package and market their favorite home- cooked foods.

Companies like Manischewitz, Streits, Foxs U-Bet, Rokeach, and Lenders became synonymous with American Jewish food. They added legitimacy (if not quality) and a sense of permanence to Jewish cuisine, ensuringfor better or for worseits inclusion on supermarket shelves for decades to come.

On this side of the Atlantic, Jewish food took on distinctly American-sized proportions. Being Jewish in America was, and still is, deeply tied to notions of material success, and what better way to prove ones successes than with lavish amounts of food?

According to food historian Jennifer Berg, throughout the 20th century Jewish holiday meals and catered affairs such as Bar Mitzvahs and weddings were "all about quantity," as if one could solidify his status with an impressive chopped liver sculpture. The familiar dishes themselves also got super-sized. It is nearly impossible to imagine an Eastern European shtetl-dweller digging into an overstuffed corned beef sandwich or a puffy bagel slathered with an inch of cream cheese, but these giant-sized portions became de rigeur even for foods with very humble origins.

Meanwhile, Jews are by no means the only immigrant group to bring their culinary traditions to America. Over time, Jews have forged culinary partnerships with many other cultures, merging traditions together and, occasionally, simply incorporating another culture?s food into the Jewish canon. Think of the sushi invasion in kosher restaurants and at simchas, or matzo ball gumboa southern Jewish favorite that combines a Cajun classic with Jews? beloved soup dumpling. Nowhere else but America would Ruth and Bob Grossman have thought to write cookbooks on Chinese-kosher cooking.

More recently, a new trend has started to emerge in American Jewish cuisine: eco-kashrut. As interest in ecological and animal and human rights issues has risen in the US, a small but passionate group of Jews have begun to fold these ethics into their understanding of what it means to "eat Jewishly ." More and more individuals and families are joining community supported agriculture programs, and doing so from a foundation of Jewish values. And while many American Jews have abandoned keeping kosher, the call for ethically raised and slaughtered kosher meat is on the rise.

As the American Jewish community continues to shift and acculturate, the definition of American Jewish food will change with it. Some traditional foods will persist, while others will be lost as Jewish tastes, values, and budgets change. New foods and traditions will emerge, slowly taking their rightful place on the Jewish dinner table.

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Eurovision 2024: Israel agrees to October Rain lyrics change – BBC.com

Posted By on March 3, 2024

  1. Eurovision 2024: Israel agrees to October Rain lyrics change  BBC.com
  2. Israel says it will edit song lyrics to avoid being disqualified from Eurovision  The Times of Israel
  3. Israel asks Eurovision candidate to change controversial lyrics  The Guardian

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Eurovision 2024: Israel agrees to October Rain lyrics change - BBC.com

U.S., Israel at Odds Over Claims of Links Between Hamas and Charities – The Wall Street Journal

Posted By on March 3, 2024

U.S., Israel at Odds Over Claims of Links Between Hamas and Charities  The Wall Street Journal

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U.S., Israel at Odds Over Claims of Links Between Hamas and Charities - The Wall Street Journal

US says Israel has agreed to the framework for a Gaza cease-fire. Hamas must now decide – The Associated Press

Posted By on March 3, 2024

US says Israel has agreed to the framework for a Gaza cease-fire. Hamas must now decide  The Associated Press

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US says Israel has agreed to the framework for a Gaza cease-fire. Hamas must now decide - The Associated Press

Israel Hamas war live updates: Another setback for cease-fire talks – USA TODAY

Posted By on March 3, 2024

Israel Hamas war live updates: Another setback for cease-fire talks  USA TODAY

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Israel Hamas war live updates: Another setback for cease-fire talks - USA TODAY

Israel-Hamas War and the Latest Middle East News: Live Updates – The New York Times

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Israel-Hamas War and the Latest Middle East News: Live Updates  The New York Times

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Israel-Hamas War and the Latest Middle East News: Live Updates - The New York Times

Israel wont send team to Cairo, said to believe Sinwar seeks escalation on Ramadan – The Times of Israel

Posted By on March 3, 2024

Israel wont send team to Cairo, said to believe Sinwar seeks escalation on Ramadan  The Times of Israel

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Israel under pressure to justify its use of AI in Gaza – POLITICO

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Israel under pressure to justify its use of AI in Gaza  POLITICO

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Israel under pressure to justify its use of AI in Gaza - POLITICO


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