Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Festival celebrates Jewish food

In 2003, the Jewish Film Festival kicked off with a reception that left the Tuscaloosa community clamoring for more. More than 10 years later, the film festival no longer exists, but the Jewish Food Festival is being brought back by popular demand at the Temple Emanu-El on March 9.

“We always did a kickoff to the film festival by having a really spectacular food reception. It was kind of like a mini Jewish food festival with tons of Jewish food items and everyone really loved it,” Rebecca Rothman, one of the first members of the Jewish Film Festival committee, said. “We took a year off to figure out how we could bring back the Jewish Food Festival, and this year we are bringing it back with a slightly different format.”

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This year the festival will feature boxed lunches for sale such as the brisket platter, the deli sandwich box and the Mediterranean falafel box. The famous sampler bar will include matzah ball soup, stuffed grape leaves, gefilte fish, chopped liver, Israeli salad and challah. Tickets cost $5 for six sampler tickets, and the boxed lunches range from $10-$13.

The food festival falls around the same time as the Jewish holiday of Purim. Lisa Besnoy, director of the Hillel Jewish Student Center, said it is important to the Jewish community to keep the history of Purim alive.

“Purim is the story of Queen Esther and Haman,” Besnoy said. “Haman wanted to murder all of the Jews, so this holiday is about freeing all of the Jews. Some of the traditional things we have are hamantaschen, which is named after Haman, and they are supposed to be modeled after Haman’s hat.”

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Hamantaschen is one of many traditional Jewish foods. Devin Kenter, a sophomore majoring in business, said he is excited to see many of his favorite foods from home.

“My favorite food is matzah ball soup, and my family would usually make it around the holidays or Shabbat,” Kenter said.

Swapping kitchen stories is just one of the ways Besnoy said she enjoys getting to know the students, but she said it will be beneficial to the community to have a chance to experience Jewish culture in a way they have never done so before.

“I think that from a Hillel perspective one of the things we’ve been trying to do is help brand the Hillel name across campus and across the community,” Besnoy said.

(See also “Jewish students sound off on faith, eating kosher“)

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