Schwarma — From Turkey to Israel

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    Why is this food from the Islamic/Arab world popular among Israeli Jews?


    Because a lot of Israeli Jews originate from these areas and brought the foods/recipes that they were used to eating with them to Israel.
    Same as why foods from the Eastern European world are popular among American Jews.
    The real question is why food from the Far East is popular among Jews?


    Shwarma is geschmak!

    Neville ChaimBerlin

    Because the Zionists based “Israeli Culture” on that of the Arabs rather than that of the Jews. Is that what you were looking for?

    I’ll let everyone assume I’m “just trolling.” I actually do love schwarma.


    Neville is on to something,
    In order to stamp out golus-ee Ashkenazi soups with matzoh balls, the old Zionist regime decided to go Arabic- goy cuisine.
    Ikah D’amrah, that Golda Meir in a clandestine mission ordered by Ben Gurion and dressed as a male chalutznik, sneaked a meeting with the then Turkish Pasha, el-Chaptzem, and collaborated to import schwarmah as a way to destroy Ashkenazic minhagim, then move in on Sefardim by pushing pizza joints.
    I’m not vouching for the accuracy of this rumor at all…. Only saw it on street pashkevillin with blazing black headlines which read : Tziyoini Kofrim !!!


    Why is food from the Far East so popular with Jews?

    Let’s rephrase this as from China (and the it extended to Thailand and Viet Nam in recent years).

    When Jewish immigrants from eastern Europe settled on the Lower East Side of NYC it was in proximity to Italians (Little Italy) and Chinese (Chinatown).
    Those Jews first venturing to try forbidden foods in neighborhood restaurants were offput by the pictures of Jesus, Mary and Crosses adorning the walls of Italian restaurants. Jews were taunted as Christ Killers and not made welcome.
    The Chinese on the other hand, were considered by American society as inferior to all whites. They respected all white customers in their establishments. Their cuisine had no mixing of milk and meat, as milk/dairy was not part of the Chinese diet. The protein (mea)t was diced so fine and mixed into dishes that were predominantly vegetable (Chop Suey, Chow Mein), noodles (Lo Mein) and rice (fried rice), Many Euro-Traditional Jews felt what they couldn’t see and identify as pork didn’t matter. The little red dyed bits of meat in Fried Rice didn’t look like pork chops, bacon rashers or slices of ham.
    Next, Chinese food was extremely cheap, all that immigrants and low paid workers could afford. Into the 1940s a meal in a NYC Chinese restaurant could be had for 65 cents. As Jews left the Lower east side for the outer boroughs, Chinese followed their customers opening laundries and restaurants.
    By the 1950s Jewish entrepeneurs realized they could hire Chinese cooks and produce kosher Chinese, thus the birth of restaurants suck as Bernsteins on Essex.
    In the 1970s I was in the kosher deli/restaurant/catering business in CT. Our head chef Hom Keung had spent 10 years as a chef at Grossinger’s in the Catskills. By his 2nd week we had added a Chinese food section to our menu. It far outsold traditional Euro-American fare that mothers and grandmothers cooked at home.

    Since the mid 1980s other East Asian food has grown in popularity. As trade with Thailand and Viet Nam expanded so too did demand for their food. Many Jews first experienced this in Israel and wanted it in the USA.

    BTW>>>the Chinese influence on the Jews of NYC continues to this day in other ways. The Mah Jongg craze that swept the nation in the 1920s became a Jewish tenement game for women that eventually became a mainstay of country clubs in the suburbs. Jewish women played Mah Jongg, WASPs played bridge


    Cuz its kosher.


    There is a credible theory that one of the root causes of sinas chinam between the Litvish and Sephardeshe tziburs are their respective food and culinary preferences and minhagim. Even within an individual Litvish family, any questioning of their culinary mesorah (“….so you don’t eat XX on yom Tov YY) is likely to trigger as much broigas as announcing your future son-in-law is a Chabadnik. Foods and food preferences strangely are a very powerful force in interpersonal relationships….much more so than we acknowledge

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