Hanukkah’s back story has to do with a Jewish minority rising up against oppression in order to defend the right to observe Judaism and preserve identity.
For far too much of our history, however, Jews have sadly and repeatedly been the victims of persecution that we could not rise up against.
Massacres of all scales appear throughout our history. So does almost three thousand years of expulsions and exoduses, instances where we were driven out from our homes. And in each new place, we try to set down roots again, never sure for how long we will be safe.
Nevertheless, in each place that Jewish people have taken culture, traditions and foods with us, we have also learned to adapt to wherever we sojourn. We pick up local influences in art, music, culture and in availability of foodstuffs.
This also means that our tent is very large. We ourselves can be very different from each other. Still, we are despite our differences a single people, am echad.
And it is in that spirit and with this understanding that I share my 2019 blog, “Jewish history through Hanukkah recipes from around the world.” In it, I try to capture some of our wandering history — and link to the recipes which have sprouted from this history. I hope you will enjoy both the delicious stroll and the deeper understanding of why we have so many foods in our history.
B’teavon and Happy Hanukkah!