The centrality of food to the Jewish experience is a fact that is undeniable. It serves to identify one as a Jew, while at the same time defines one’s particular identity within the wider sphere of the Jewish community.
The Jewish holidays are divided (in my mind) into "food holidays" and "not food holidays." The High Holy Days are the ultimate expression of this dichotomy. On Rosh Hashana, we delight in foods that are sweet to ring in the New Year, and on Yom Kippur, we fast.
Our favorite Jewish cookbook extraordinaire, Joan Nathan, has invited an old friend to the Hanukkah table. In an article in today's NY Times, she shares with us the colorful -- and flavorful -- memories of babka in its original and contemporary varieties.
With the exception of Yom Kippur, the past few weeks, for many of us in the Jewish community, have been bountifully full of food. I’ve been happily partaking in pumpkin bread/pumpkin muffin production (baking three loaves, and two tins of twelve muffins over the course of two days) and enjoying my friends’ seasonal culinary creations on a chilly evening in their sukkah.
A few weeks ago, I blogged about Community Supported Agriculture programs (CSAs) and the increasing number of Jews making environmental advocacy an ethical priority, or for many, a religious imperative. What I didn’t muse about was how CSAs, organic farming, and food equity programs are appealing to other religious groups and, in many ways, uniting them.