Iraqi Jewish cooking and peace
- howler Aug 13, 2013 09:20 AM
I completely agree.
But overall, I find that the sentiments of approaches to combine food and peace to usually be oversimplified. If you can get two feuding neighbors to share a meal, that can be a very positive step. But hardly translates to larger issues of government and politics.
I created a Circle of Israeli & Palestinian women in my city several years ago. It was designed to be one-Sunday afternoon event facilitated by a woman who does women's circles all the time. The intention was that the women could discover their commonalities as women, wives, daughters, mothers.
Instead, they opened with their political points of view: how we suffered; what you did to us, etc.
But it was also a pot luck and as soon as the food came out, something happened. It was women being women together and, if you didn't know, you wouldn't have been able to tell who was Palestinian and who was Israeli.
They decided to continue to meet - for 2-1/2 years (always with food) and became important to one another. Shared life events like births and deaths and marriages. Many moved back to Tel Aviv or Ramallah and they no longer meet, but remain good friends and stay in communication.
Who they are in their communities, how they raise their children, etc, was forever altered by the contact. And I assert that the sharing of food was at the heart of what allowed it to happen.
In my previous job as a private banker, I used to manage a century-old Singapore-based trust helping Jews in Baghdad. A large number of Singapore Jews were descended from Iraq, and they were also responsible for building the two old synagogues in the city. Dining with them, I can understand why homecooking is best.