Archive for the 'Jewish history' Category



26
Nov
10

Food, Jewelry and the Torah


[An interesting post outlining how food and jewelry interact in the Torah, by a friend and faithful blog reader from Israel. CS]

This week’s Torah portion – Vayeshev – kicks off one of the most exciting stories in the TaNa”CH, the story of Joseph. What many don’t know is that much of it revolves around food and jewelry. The food: Joseph’s first dream, 11 sheaves of wheat bowing to Joseph’s proud bundle. Everything goes south from there. The jewelry: Pharaoh takes off his ring and gives it to Joseph. Everything goes up from there.

But then another food wave comes and brings us down again. The Israelites, living in Goshen in Egypt, are exempt from paying the food tax instituted by Pharaoh at the end of Genesis. They are, after all, Joseph’s family. (Uh oh…) The next Pharaoh avenges this by making the Jews build his grain storage cities by force. Slavery begins.

Jewish history takes another upswing with jewelry, as we literally empty Egypt of every precious metal stone. We are rich beyond our wildest dreams…only to then use it all on a golden calf.

Jewelry takes another turn around when we build the Tabernacle (Mishkan) to Hashem instead, but comes down again at food when complaints stream in about the lack of meat.

The cycle between jewelry and food is indeed an interesting one, with more waves that follow, both up and down, ever repeating. The key is to use them both correctly, in a kosher way and in tune with the Divine purpose for our lives.

Rafi Farber
Senior Marketing Manager, Zoara.com

31
Dec
09

Ethnogastropolitics


Well, the New Year is finally upon us. Some of my favorite moments are those great end of the year stories. Here are a few food related ones that caught my eye. While we’re obsessed with e-coli and mad cow disease breakout, we have developed some new twists on ‘when pigs fly.’ Like the web designer who’s suing a NYC Scandinavian themed restaurant for the 150 pound decorative moose head with 3-foot-wide antlers that fell off the wall and hit her; got to love that one. Or, how about the rights of farshtoppte katchkas? We now have a politically correct foie gras being produced. Ducks and geese no longer have to suffer forced feeding and the resulting engorged livers sustained to indulge a connoisseur’s palate.

This year, on a more serious note, we were forced to take a look at our own production standards. Aside from the Madoff driven stock market fall, we had the tremendous fall from grace of one of our own primary meat processing plants. It’s kind of ironic that this year we have witnessed record numbers at food banks and soup kitchens around the nation, and that that same meat producer had fed thousands with his charitable food bank work.

On another note, Raymond Sokolov, of the Wall Street Journal, in a piece entitled Exceptional Food Moments of 2009, described “Mr. Obama continued his foray into ethnogastropolitics by engaging New York-based, Ethiopian-Swedish chef Marcus Samuelsson to cook the administration’s first state dinner, an Indian-fusion meal for the Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.” A vegetarian dish, by the way, “which included roasted potato dumplings with tomato chutney, chickpeas and okra or green curry prawns, caramelized salsify with smoked collard greens and coconut-aged basmati rice.” Yum yum! Who would have ever thought that we would move from glasnost to ethnogastropolitics with Swedish Ethiopian chefs preparing dishes at the White House for a black president of the United States of America? Truly Moshiach is on his way! When you think about it, the ethnogastropolitics concept has been a bona-fide component of our Jewish history and our accompanying tales of persecution. From libels of blood mixed with matzo to kashrus on the run from one pogrom to another, our very make-up is a testament to surviving that particular political combination.

Wishing all our readers a happy, productive and successful secular New Year 2010! May the fiscal New Year be Madoff free, swine flu free, ethnogastropolically correct, and may no moose heads fall upon us.

Best Wishes,

SYR




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