This might sound rather strange – I was initially introduced to Judaism, Jewish customs and traditions, and Yiddish language by a collection of Jewish jokes. As a teenager in Germany I found a yellowed paperback from 1963, Salcia Landmann’s Jüdische Witze, among my mother’s books. Mind you that these are jokes by Jews, not about them. I read the 200 pages of jokes from beginning to end over and over. It is the only book of jokes I ever read. Continue reading
Much has been written about the assimilation of German Jews before 1933 trying to explain why so many did not leave Germany, their country. Many German Jews were unable to imagine the unspeakable harm they would suffer under the Nazis.
Whether that assimilation was a one-way street or true integration, is a debate among historians. Yet, what I can observe from the food point of view is that it must have been assimilation to a very high degree. Continue reading