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The Taste of Jewish Culture

June 14, 2023 @ 11:00 pm - June 15, 2023 @ 12:00 am UTC

December 14, 2022 7:00 pm ET – The Original Culinary Movers and Shakers: Jews as Transporters of Food

From oranges to chocolate, wine to sugar, most foods today have spread beyond their birthplaces. But did you know that as the most globalized nation in the world, Jews have been intimately involved in their active transmission? Hear the surprising stories of the wandering Jew’s gastronomic impact, and the reasons that underly our role in culinary history.


January 18, 2023 7:00 pm ET – Chulent and Hamin: The Stew with a Thousand Flavors

Wherever Jews have spread throughout our complex and storied history, we’ve carried a simple Shabbat stew with us, adapting it to the local ingredients and tastes. A culinary history of this most Jewish of dishes that will whet your appetite, but not sit heavily in your stomach.


March 15, 2023 7:00 pm ET – Crackers, Crepes, and Cheese: Jewish Culinary Traditions From Passover to Shavuot

As our most food-connected holiday, Passover features symbolic foods with clear – yet sometimes curious – meanings. On Shavuot, conversely, the most widespread gastronomic custom grows out of mysterious origins. Add in the peculiar traditions of the Mimouna holiday that comes at the end of Passover, and we have a host of culinary questions to answer. This talk addresses them all, and reveals the Jewish values at play in these festival foods.


April 19, 2023 7:00 pm ET – A Land of Milk and Mufletta: At the Crossroads of Israel’s Cuisine and Culture

Israeli chefs have recently conquered the culinary world, but what about all those foods they left behind at home? What do these dishes say about Israel itself? From falafel to petitim,meorav Yerushalmi to mufletta, Joel reveals the culture behind the distinctive foods that makeIsrael so deliciously… Israeli.


June 14, 2023 7:00 pm ET – A Virtual Taste of Machane Yehuda Market

Shuk Machane Yehuda, Jerusalem’s famous outdoor market, is the beating heart of the city. It reflects the history of modern Jerusalem, while providing food for (and by) the many diverse communities of people who regularly shop there. This virtual tour explores the shuk’s highlights and hidden gems while reveling in the sensory overload that makes the market so special.


July 18, 2023 7:00 pm ET – They Tried to Kill Us, We Won, Let’s Eat! Jewish Food Conquers Antisemitism

Jews have been oppressed throughout history. But every pot has a silver lining. Let’s look at the lighter side of darkness. How have Jews turned challenges into opportunities, and what delicious foods did we draw directly from the crucible of antisemitism?


September 6, 2023 7:00 pm ET – Not Just Apples and Honey: Rosh Hashana Foods and Their Many Meanings

We all know that we “dip the apple in the honey” on Rosh Hashana. But there are so many more symbolic foods that Jews around the world eat on the holiday. What do all of these foods mean? Why is symbolism such a big part of this holiday? How legit are newly-coined symbols at the Rosh Hashana table? And most importantly, what do these traditions say about our people?


November 15, 2023 7:00 pm ET – Oil, Almonds, and… Ears?! The Customary Foods of Chanukkah, Tu B’Shvat, and Purim

These three holidays all have popular foods associated with them, and plenty more that may be less familiar. By diving deeper into the dishes we eat to celebrate, we’ll answer such perplexing questions as, “would we still eat latkes if there were no miracle of the oil,” “what the heck is bokser anyway,” and “did Haman actually have pointy ears?”


About our presenter – Joel Haber researches, writes about and lectures on the topic of Jewish Food history, with a focus on understanding Jewish culture and history via our foods. His writing appears on his blog (www.tasteofjew.com/) along with articles in such publications as The Nosher, Tablet, Tradition, and The Jewish Journal (Los Angeles). He has lectured extensively on the topic, in both online and in-person venues in multiple countries. Joel is currently writing a book that examines Shabbat stews from around the world, using them as a way of tracing the routes of Jewish migrations throughout history. In connection, he recently published the cookbook Chulent & Hamin: The Ultimate Jewish Comfort Food (www.tasteofjew.com/free-shabbat-stew-cookbook/).Additionally, Joel has worked as a licensed tour guide in Israel for nearly a decade. In addition to hundreds of tours of a general nature, his most popular single tour is a culinary tasting and history tour in Jerusalem’s famous outdoor market, Shuk Machane Yehuda. Approximately 3,500 individuals have already joined him on that tour, along with countless others who have joined a virtual version via Zoom. Joel was born and raised in New Jersey, lived for many excellent years in both New York City and Los Angeles, and immigrated to Israel in March 2009. He is proud to live in the special city of Jerusalem.

This series is made possible by a grant from the Congregation Ahabat Shalom Religious Fund.