Jewish Food

Talking about Jewish food is both mouth-wateringly delicious and just a little complicated. While Ashkenazi Jews (Jews from Eastern Europe) are used to foods like gefilte fish and matzah ball soup, these dishes would be foreign to a Jew from the Middle East, North Africa or Ethiopia who would prefer to chow down pkaila, shakshuka, t’bit or doro wat. What connects Jewish foods, apart from being delicious, is that they developed from economic necessity and were often a way for poor communities to create something tasty from very little. While some of these dishes have been forgotten over time, others are enjoying a culinary renaissance and gaining new generations of fans. So pull up a seat and join us on this delicious culinary journey as we take the lid of the culinary melting pot of Jewish food.

  • Review
  • Discussion
  • Activities
  • Reflection
  • Further Learning
  1. Which of the following IS NOT a traditional Jewish food?
    • Latke
    • Gefilte fish
    • Matza ball soup
    • Pizza
  2. What factors can make a food Jewish?
    • Poverty and persecution
    • Kashrut
    • Holidays
    • All of the above
  3. Which of the following IS NOT traditionally eaten on Shabbat?
    • Challa
    • T’bit
    • Chulent
    • Sufganiyot
  4. In which New York Deli was a scene from “When Harry Met Sally” filmed?
    • Katz’s Deli
    • Zabar’s
    • Liebman’s Kosher Deli
    • David’s Brisket House
  1. What is a Jewish 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. Seven types of produce are mentioned in Deuteronomy 8:8 — wheat, barley, grapes, figs, pomegranate, olives and dates. Legumes, wild plants, and meat — mostly lamb — were also eaten in biblical times. The dietary laws found in the Torah, and explained in more detail in the Talmud, governed 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. What’s your favourite biblical food?
  3. What have you learned about Jewish identity and history by exploring Jewish food and cuisine?
  4. 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?
  5. How do you think Jewish food will evolve in the coming years?
  1. Chavruta Text Study
    In the Shulchan Aruch: Chapter 318, there are 31 laws governing how to cook and eat food on Shabbat. Study one of these laws in chavruta and discuss the following questions:

    • What about this law surprises you?
    • Do you think this is a hard or easy law to keep? Why?
    • What may be the social impact on an individual or community from observing this law?
  2. Cooking Jewish Food
    Watch the following videos for instructions and recipes!

  3. Have a Master Chef competition in class.
    • Split your class into small groups of 3-4.
    • Assign each group a different Jewish food from the video.
    • Have them research and present about the history of the food.
    • Prepare the foods for each other.
    • Bitayavon! Enjoy!
  4. Play our Kahoot about Jewish Food!

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