Though he now considers himself a non-affiliated Jew, Adam Kirsch grew up in Los Angeles where he attended the Conservative synagogue Adat Shalom and went to Hebrew school at Sinai Temple Religious School. "I received a good Jewish education at home," says Kirsch, whose father is the biblical scholar Jonathan Kirsch. "Though not yeshiva-like," he adds, as if to clarify.
* El Al Israel Airlines has announced several moves to upgrade its fleet and level of service. Israel’s national airlines has acquired one state-of-the-art Boeing 747-400 aircraft for long-haul nonstop routes. The new planes are equipped with advanced sleeper seats and an improved video- on-demand entertainment system. Upgrades have also been completed on the El Al 747-400 jumbo aircraft and four of its 777 aircraft.
My practice of blessing before the meals began not as an act of theology but of desperation. As the mother of two young children, I was struggling to limit mealtime chaos. In my mind, meals were meant to be episodes of calm and connection and not the free-for-all they often became. I wanted my children to appreciate the food in front of them, not just complain and make demands for substitute foodstuffs. Looking for an alternative to coaxing and pleading (and occasionally yelling) for more focus, I considered the possibility of the blessings before food.
Last year, Rubashkin — the name of the family that owned and ran Agriprocessors, the country’s largest kosher meatpacking plant — became synonymous with scandal. In May 2008, U.S. immigration officials raided the plant, arresting 389 illegal aliens employed there, and company owners were charged on numerous counts of violating child labor and immigration laws. The highly publicized case also put a spotlight on a disquieting history of accusations of mistreatment of animals at the slaughterhouse.
For 100 years, we were a restaurant family. From 1888 to 1988, we threw out food. Pristine bread trays, untouched butter ramekins, plat du jours at the end of the jour. Anything tired or wilted was whooshed into the garbage, OUT! Every morning, as the sun rose over the East River, the kitchens started from scratch.
A longtime professor of Talmud and Rabbinics at the Conservative movement’s Jewish Theological Seminary, David Kraemer regularly ventures a few blocks north of the campus to shop at the Harlem Fairway.
At this New York foodie mecca, the mostly vegetarian Kraemer, who is the primary cook of his family, indulges his zeal for all things culinary while rustling up ingredients for Shabbat dinner.
He may be one of the last of a famous breed, but Cliff Fyman, who has worked at Sardi’s for almost two decades, is that beloved icon of New York culture: the Jewish waiter.
A published poet and an accomplished visual artist, Fyman says that a blue-collar job is one that enables him “not to take my job home with me.” He tried bartending, but found that he had to talk too much with the customers and consequently had “no more words left for poetry.”
At the crux of the regulation of food preparation and ingestion is the question of how our religious ritual activities hallow our lives and shore up our ethnic/national identity. The rationale for the laws of kashrut may indeed be arcane and unknown, indeed unknowable; but at bottom they are all about a reverence for life.
For some, hamed — the lemony, garlicky, minty staple of Sephardic cuisine — has mystical powers. For this author, it is a taste of home.
I have lost weight, and I think it is simply because I don’t each much anymore.
I have grown tired of my Manhattan eateries, my takeout meals, even my gourmet Glatt Kosher emporium on the East Side, which sells classical Eastern European fare such as cooked brisket and stuffed cabbage.