Streams

Loves the Holiday, Not the Food

Monday, April 18, 2011

Siân Gibby, who contributes to and copy edits Tablet Magazine: A New Read on Jewish Lifewrites about her struggle to embrace traditional Passover food since her conversion to Judaism in 2005

Listeners: How traditional are your Seder meals? Is it okay to modify some of the food traditions? Comment here!

Guests:

Siân Gibby
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Comments [14]

Alvin from Manhattan

Is this the best Passover segment you can come up with? This is a holiday about freedom, about rejecting the absolute power of tyrants, about becoming a nation of laws and justice. Events in today's headlines were inspired by the ideas associated with Passover. And the best you could do is talk about how some people hate the food? Is this the height of ignorance, or a product of self-hating Jews?

Apr. 18 2011 12:05 PM
Amy from Manhattan

In my congregation, one member, who is very much an Ashkenazic Jew by ancestry & culture, loves Sephardic food, especially the desserts! And that's what he brings for Kiddush.

Apr. 18 2011 12:01 PM
Benjy from Crown Heights

I love herring. Especially matjes herring from Raskin's in Crown Heights.
And, I experience the "ashkenazic stomach" sensitive, fragile, not adept at digestion of fried food. I LOVE JEWISH FOOD!

Apr. 18 2011 12:00 PM
TamaraB from New Jersey

I am a convert as well, and like the Jewish foods of gefilte fish, whitefish salad and chopped liver more than my Jewish husband. I've embraced all types of cooking - and love creating my own versions of charoset, brisket, and kugel adding my Puerto Rican spices to the mix. The religion is amazing and so is the food!

Apr. 18 2011 11:57 AM
Amy from Manhattan

Has Ms. Gibby tried whole wheat matzah? To me, it has more texture & flavor than white-flour matzah.

Apr. 18 2011 11:57 AM
David from Chelsea

I think it is at this point it's more regional than religious. My father is Hungarian and cooked a lot of food that was just known as Eastern European. So latkes were krumplis palascinta etc.

I grew-up though in the South and that food was considered weird and ethnic. When I moved up here as a teenager though everyone knew that food very well whether Jewish or Gentile. My wife is Jewish and I'm the cook.

Apr. 18 2011 11:57 AM
Robert from NYT

Gee, the only two "Jewish" foods I love, matzoh and chicken livers, are the ones she hates!! All that other stuff is, as one caller mentioned, Eastern European Jewish. I'm not too crazy about some Eastern European foods as a person from Western Eurpean background.
Matzoh with butter, mmmmm and jelly, mmmm and peanut butter, mmmm and just plain, mmmmm

Apr. 18 2011 11:57 AM
Clara from Queens

H

I was raised in a Hungarian-Jewish family. The only food that I would eat are the pastries and desserts/ To this day Ii won't eat matzoh

Apr. 18 2011 11:56 AM
David from Chelsea

I think it is at this point it's more regional than religious. My father is Hungarian and cooked a lot of food that was just known as Eastern European. So latkes were krumplis palascinta etc.

I grew-up though in the South and that food was considered weird and ethnic. When I moved up here as a teenager though everyone knew that food very well whether Jewish or Gentile. My wife is Jewish and I'm the cook.

Apr. 18 2011 11:56 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

I strongly suggest this young "convert" go back to being a nice Quaker girl, where she really belongs, and save herself a lot of consternation. In fact, if she was converted by a Reform or Conversative rabbi, she will NOT be recognized as a bona fide Jews by the Rabbinate in Israel anyway, so she shouldn't take offense. Being a Jew is both a blessing and a curse. The curse part can be very strong.

Apr. 18 2011 11:55 AM
Jonella from Boondox of Sullivan County

I'm not a convert, I'm the real item - but just want to say, speaking of chopped liver - which is delicious homemade, of course - but THEE BEST chopped liver I ever had in my LIFE was at Sammy's Roumanian Restaurant on the Lower East Side. Unbeatable!
A Zissan Pesach to all!
Love your show, Brian!!! Listen every day. (I'm up in the Boondocks these days - 80 miles from my much lamented, charming, sunny and quiet, sixth-floor walk-up, rent controlled apartment in the West Village I inhabited since 1964 when I was a student at Parsons School of Design, that I was forced to give up in 2008 - so your show is extremely IMPORTANT to me! Keeps me connected with New York City AND the great mind set that I miss so much up here! - except for the sprinkle of New Yorkers who have second homes up here and sometimes relocate here. Thank you so much!

Apr. 18 2011 11:54 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

Like many if not most converts, she thinks she has "converted to a religion." Like most converts she doesn't understand that she has JOINED A TRIBE! Jews are a TRIBE, not merely a "religion."

Such converts are drawn by the exoticism of it, and don't have a clue as to what being a Jew is. Not a clue.

Apr. 18 2011 11:53 AM
judy from NYC

I've been Jewish my whole life, and I'm not crazy about "Jewish" food. In fact, I dislike a lot of it. Of course, you are talking about eastern European "Jewish" Food. She might try Middle eastern or central European or Sephardic food.

Apr. 18 2011 11:52 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

I'm sure that as a convert she must find all the massive restrictions in our dietary laws quite difficult in general, but then being a JEw was never meant to be a picnic.

As for gefilte fish, that is eastern European, and certainly not part of the food fare of Middle Eastern Jews. They hate fish. I know, I lived in ISrael, and they practically threw up trying out lox or gefilte fish.
Or chopped liver too. Very foreign to the palate of Oriental (mizrachi) and Hispanic (Sephardic) Jews.

If food is her only problem being a Jew, she hasn't even begun to experience the tip of the iceberg,

Apr. 18 2011 11:50 AM

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