“When do we eat?” is a common refrain around the Pesach Seder, the blessing of Shabbat meal and other occasions where Jewsih family & friends gather. A meal, and all that goes into its preparation, can be considered synonymous with Jewish life. The act of sharing a meal preceding or following an event—whether cheerful or somber—is an act of love. It solidifies bonds of friendship, family, and community. A table, likewise is the epicenter of daily life. It is the place where life’s trials, tribulations, and success are relayed. And, it is a place where traditions and customs grow, evolve, and remain across generations. According to the Talmud, the family table has the additional role as altar. Thus, “every home a temple; every family a sanctuary; every table an altar; every meal an offering; every Jew a Priest.” 1
The importance of the meal to Jewish life and culture has evolved over 2000 years. While there are geographic differences among the diaspora, keeping kosher, customs of food preparation, traditional recipes, rituals, celebrations, and the notion of “table as temple” are witnessed globally.
This exhibit aims to share in the experiences of the Dallas Jewish community preparing and sharing meals for all occasions. From the menorahs that light the way during Hanukkah, to the Seder plates that remind of the past; the dishes used for decades of weekly Shabbat dinners; the celebrations that expand families; and, those that reintroduce us to our neighbors, Jewish life doesn’t necessarily revolve around food—it revolves around the items, ceremonies, traditions, tables, and people who make the food taste good. Now, go let Bubbe feed you.
1 Poupko, Rabbi Yehiele E. “Eating as a Celebration of Jewish Life.” JUF News. November 26, 2007. Accessed November 07, 2018. https://www.juf.org/news/thinking_torah.aspx?id=28094.