A Single Carrot and a Jewish Food Movement

Fish marketExplore “A New Judaism from the Tabletop: Food and the Transformation of American Jewish Life” in our conversation with Professor Lila Berman at RS on Wed., Oct. 16, 7:00 pm, in a keynote sponsored by the Dr. Bernard & Rose Susan Hirschhorn Behrend Fund, and whet your appetite with these reflections…

Last Wednesday evening I walked down to the RS kitchen to pick up my CSA vegetables, and and to say hello to this week’s team of Caring Community congregants mitzvah-cooking for other congregants who are returning from the hospital.  There, we also had some congregants cracking garlic.  Lots and lots of garlic.  It looked like 50 peeled cloves in the pile!  Our CSA farmer, Phil, had asked RS to peel cloves so that each could be planted as a bulb and grow garlic for the next season.  So even on North Broad Street, Farmer Phil had found a way for us to connect to our food source and in a way, to farm! 

The connections in the garlic cracking story mirror the connections in the entire developing Jewish Food movement.  Food nourishes, provides a way to show compassion, connects us to the source of life.  The intention in our relationship with food has become a powerful way to connect both with nature and with Judaism.

Intention, especially around food, has always been a foundation of Jewish life.  The sages created a system of blessings that appreciates the differentiation in the species of the world.  There is a blessing for the fruit of the vine, the fruit of the earth, the fruit of the tree.  At the top of the hierarchy, the blessing that can apply to all food, is our blessing for bread, Hamotzi.  Why is the bread the food that encompasses all categories?  Because bread demands both wheat from the earth and a complex process once harvested.  The Motzi is as much a blessing for a partnership between humans and God.

The seeds of wisdom in Jewish tradition bring spiritual, social justice and communal connections to the ethical food movement, especially for Jews in urban centers.  On Wednesday, October 16, 7:00 pm at RS, Professor Lila Berman will present a bold vision about the transformative power of the Jewish food movement for Jews and the Jewish community today.  Please join us for the conversation!

Nineteenth century artist Paul Cezanne said:  “The day is coming when a single carrot, freshly observed, will set off a revolution.”  Our What is Your Food Worth (a partnership with Temple University’s Feinstein Center) conversations are our community’s pathway into the revolution.