How Food Helped Me Build My Jewish Identity

February 2, 2023
Emma Gornstein

Ardsley, New York, USA

Class of 2025

Read more from this author →

As teenagers, we are constantly searching for our place in the world and figuring out who we are. For many Jewish teens, food plays a significant role in our identities and understanding of our heritage.

Growing up, I always loved going to my Grandma’s house for Shabbat dinner. The table was always filled with traditional Jewish dishes like matzo ball soup, brisket, and kugel. These meals were not just about nourishment but also about connecting with my family and my culture.

Many of my chapter and regional events and programs are been centered around food and cooking  and I can say for a fact those events are always the ones with the most people and the most engagement. Food has the power to bring people together and create a sense of community. It is not just about the taste but also the memories and traditions associated with it. For Jewish teens, food is a way to connect with our ancestors and remember where we come from.

But it's not just traditional Jewish foods that hold a special place in our identities. Jewish cuisine is diverse and has been influenced by the many countries and cultures where Jews have lived throughout history. For example, Sephardic Jews have a different culinary tradition than Ashkenazi Jews. As a teen, this diversity in Jewish food has allowed me to explore and appreciate the different aspects of my identity.

If you want a way to connect with Jewish Teens through food definitely join the BBYO baking club!

Emma is a BBG living in Ardsley NY she loves baking!

All views expressed on content written for The Shofar represent the opinions and thoughts of the individual authors. The author biography represents the author at the time in which they were in BBYO.

Explore More Stories

Get The Shofar blasted to your inbox