Friday, August 24, 2012

Aromas of Aleppo


Posted by Ann Rabinowitz




Recently, this blog posted a story about the tragic circumstances of Aleppo, once the center of Jewish life in Syria. There are many ways which genealogists can document the rich history and culture of their families from there.  One is by investigating the food that they ate and the ways it was prepared.

A lovely book by Poopa Dweck has been published which documents the cookery of the Syrian Jews.  It is entitled “Aromas of Aleppo, The Legendary Cuisine of Syrian Jews”.  The book contains 180 mouth-watering recipes of a culture which has been disbursed around the world.

Syrian Jews are supposed to be one of the largest groups of Sephardic Jews and their cuisine stretches back thousands of years.  The staples of Middle Eastern cookery are included in their diet, but it is the manner in which the food is cooked and the special items that are used in particular dishes that make it special and enticing.


Poopa Dweck

The book by Poopa Dweck is a beautifully illustrated, well-written and a deliciously-tempting vision of Aleppo Jewry’s culinary art.  An interesting review of the book can be found at the following link:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GAPZtLGLjW0

In addition to the wonderful food of the Aleppo Jews, one can learn of their history on the JewishGen site at: http://www.jewishgen.org/sephardic/AleppoJews.htm.  The effort put forth by Sarina Roffe to bring this culture to our attention is a work of love.  

The music of the Aleppo Jews will also entrance you, especially the well-known Shabbat Bakashot supplications which can be heard played by noted Isaeli Yitzhak Yedid, the son of Syrian Jews:   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GaL8YdHuV6k.  The site also provides a fascinating and an extensive explanation of the Bakashot.

This is just a start on what can be learned about the Aleppo Jewish community. 

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