Judaism, Jewishness and everything you were never taught in school about it.

I've been hanging around for a while, and the amount of ignorance and misinformation abounding around Judaism, Jewishness (not the same thing), and Israel just astounds me.

Because we are an ethnic group that just happens to have a religion attached to it (much like the Japanese) it is entirely possible to be a Jewish atheist -- and I don't think I'm the only one here, although it seems to me that others may be unwilling to come out, because of the rampant hostility that I have seen expressed against us.

I think that this hostility comes from ex-Christians truly not understanding the difference between the definition of a Christian and a Jew, much less the profound cultural differences that exist. Americans in general, which mostly means Christians, haven't a clue about Jewish history, nor approaches to philosophy, nor how we have evolved, nor our world-view. 

So I have a lot of topics in my head to write about -- but I'm also VERY interested in genuine questioning, just so some of you can understand before you attack.

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Nope, it's NOT OK. If you ate it in a "Jewish" deli, they were modifying their food to suit American tastes, just like Chinese restaurants do. That deli was NOT kosher, and an observant Jew would never eat there. However, the majority of American Jews are NOT that observant, and freely partake of American culture and would probably enjoy it.

You're so lucky to live anywhere that there ARE delicatessans (I mean real ones).

I'm a Jew who doesn't like rye bread. Blasphemy!

Well, if they don't put caraway seeds it can taste good...

I love rye breads and hearty, crusty mediterreanean types-I've got no major problem with caraway seeds, but they're not my favorite either.  Anise can also ruin a good bread quick-and anise-flavored breads (and drinks) are popular in Greek/Mediterranean cuisine. 

Mm-mm, caraway liqueur.

To a cup and a half of vodka, add a teaspoon of caraway seed and let mature for a month (two weeks if you crush the seed). Add a half-cup of syrup (dissolve a cup of sugar in a half-cup of boiling water, stir and cool before adding). Enjoy.

My favorite though is chocolate liqueur and creme de cacao.

For the liqueur: To a cup and a half of vodka, add two tsp of chocolate extract, a half-tsp of vanilla extract, and a half-cup of syrup (prepared as above). Optionally mature for 1-to-2 weeks. Enjoy.

For the creme de cacao: double the amount of syrup, optionally mature and enjoy.

That actually sounds pretty good!  I used to make my own absinthe-not too different only the absinthe was REALLY bitter.

I don't like caraway seeds, either! I do like Russian rye bread, though! :-)

Yes, there are variations in how the laws are observed. The basics are the same, but for example, during Passover, the Ashkenazim (those who lived in Central and Eastern Europe) do not allow beans or legumes, because they can be fermented, whereas the Sephardim (originally living in Spain, then scattered all over the Mediterranean region, the Netherlands and the New World) and the Mizrahim (those who never left the Middle East) eat legumes and beans freely during Passover.

Another example is that Ashkenazic matza balls are round, but Yemenite matza balls are triangular!

Then, of course, the food of different groups differs depending on what was available in their region. Jewish cooking is usually an adaptation of the cooking of the local region -- for example, the Poles used pork, but there are similar Jewish recipes that used beef instead.

  Thanks for the clarification, Natalie!  I remember now that in his book "The Source", James Michener mentions the Sephardim having different dietary standards than the Ashkenazim. Beans and legumes--terrific!  (I love Greek food and during Lent, Greeks eat lots of beans and legumes).  All the matza  that I have ever seen have been the round ones (generally available as prepackaged "matza ball soup mix" where I live-which I'm sure is a poor excuse for the homemade version).  Thanks also for the clarification on meats and cheeses.  I knew that they couldn't be stored together (not that they should be anyway-who wants their fontina to taste like roast beef and ham?).  But I didn't know whether or not you could eat them together-I assumed that as long as you didn't cook the meat in milk (as Greeks are wont to do with lamb and goat), that it might be okay-since you weren't "seething a kid in it's mother's milk".  Thanks for your input, I know better now. 

Hi Joan,

Are you here to dictate to us what Judaism is or are you unconsciously trolling?

Leveni - I do not see a posting from 'Joan' on this thread. Anyone posting on these threads are NOT trolling - as only atheists are allowed. That means everyone's postings are equal and should be treated with at least a bit of respect. Don't you think?




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