This week we begin reading from the book of Bamidbar. In the first parsha, we learn about the descendants of Jacob and the 12 Tribes of Israel. This parsha provides us with a wonderful opportunity to talk about different kinds of Jews, different examples of Jewish culture, and different expressions of Jewish faith.
Just like we want our children to know about and respect the religious and cultural differences of our friends and neighbors, we should also remember that within Judaism there is also quite a lot of ethnic and cultural diversity. Not all Jews eat gefilte fish! Instead of making a "traditional" Shabbat dinner complete with matzah ball soup and kugel, try experimenting with Jewish recipes from Morocco, Yemen, Argentina, or Italy. There's no better way to learn about a different culture than to eat its food!
Joan Nathan has a new cookbook that explores the world of Jewish food. Check out the link for recipes from Greece and Persia or to learn a little more about the evolution of Jewish food traditions. B'tayavon!