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Israeli Food

Israeli food may be delicious, but it is a lot more interesting than that. Join Chloé Valdary as she guides us through the origin of Israeli food. What is Israeli food? What food is authentically “Israeli”? What does Israeli food teach us about Israeli culture and Jewish history? Chloé answers all of these questions and more in the following video. After watching the video, use the prompts below to learn more and get your students thinking.

  • Review
  • Discussion
  • Activities
  • Reflection
  • Further Learning
  1. Most Israelis descend from immigrant families that came to Israel within the last:
    • 2000 years
    • 70 years
    • 200 years
    • 150 years
  2. What does the Arabic word “shakka” (from the word “Shakshuka”) mean?
    • Shake
    • Soup
    • Mixture
    • Sauce
  3. How would you define Israeli food?
  4. Where does schnitzel come from?
    • Poland
    • Morocco
    • Turkey
    • Germany
  5. Which of the following foods are uniquely Israeli?
    • Hummus
    • Sabich
    • Bagels
    • Shakshuka
  1. What does Israeli food teach us about Israeli society?
  2. The modern State of Israel is home to Jews and all religions from around the world, from various backgrounds, culture and traditions. How do you think Israeli food can be used to unite Israelis from these diverse backgrounds?
  3. How does Israeli food help maintain Jewish culinary traditions from the Diaspora? Is it important to maintain these traditions from the Diaspora, or should immigrants try to assimilate into Israeli culture when it comes to food? Why or why not?
  4. What does food teach us about one’s identity and culture? Explain.
  1. Debate: Some critics of Israel view the whole concept of Israeli food as what they call, “cultural appropriation.” (See here for an explanation of cultural appropriation.) Others strongly disagree and view Israeli food as an opportunity for different ethnic groups to unite around food. After watching the video, what is your opinion and why?
  2. Have a Master Chef competition in class.
    • Split your class into small groups of 3-4.
    • Assign each group a different Israeli food from the video.
    • Have them research more about the history of the food.
    • Prepare the foods for each other.
    • Biteyavon!
  3. Divide your class into small groups and have them present research in an engaging way on pre-assigned Israeli foods from the video. Have them finish their presentations by quizzing their classmates with a fun Kahoot quiz.
  4. Give your students our Kahoot on Israeli food!
  1. What is a Jewish or Israeli food that you grew up with? Is it important to you that you pass these foods on to the next generation?  Why or why not?
  2. Do you think that Israeli society is more of a melting pot or a multicultural society? How do you think Israeli food will evolve in the coming years?
  3. What have you learned about Jewish identity by exploring Israeli food and cuisine?
  4. Why is it really important to engage with Israeli culture as opposed to focusing on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict when learning about Israel? In what ways does it help shift our thinking about Israel?
  5. How does food relate to identity: identity as an immigrant, and identity defined as belonging to a new nation?  What’s the relationship between the two, and how can they work together? What is the close relationship between food and identity?

 

  1. Rachel Myerson “Israeli Cuisine: How did we get here?” https://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/Culture/Israeli-cuisine-How-did-we-get-here-512040
  2. Gil Marks, “Encyclopedia of Jewish Food”
  3. Ronit Vered, “The Story Behind an Iconic Israeli Street Food: The Sabich” https://www.haaretz.com/food/.premium.MAGAZINE-the-story-behind-the-one-real-israeli-sandwich-the-sabich-1.5629370
  4. Roger Sherman, “In Search of Israeli Cuisine” (see film trailer here) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MLDNbp1878k
  5. My Jewish Learning, “Ashkenazi Cuisine” https://www.myjewishlearning.com/article/ashkenazic-cuisine/
  6. “Hummus! The Movie”, https://www.hummusthemovie.com/
  7. Jewish Food: More Than Just Matzo Ball Soup https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=thzlpncUG_4

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