(photo credit: PASCALE PEREZ-RUBIN)
One of the most unforgettable memories from my childhood is my first school Hanukka celebration in first grade. The teacher explained to us in detail about the traditions of the holiday, including special foods. On Passover we eat matza, she said, on Purim we have hamentashen, on Rosh Hashana we dip apples in honey, and on Hanukka we make sufganiot. At this point, she drew a picture on the chalkboard of a big round sufgania with jelly bursting out of the top.I ran home after school that day, burst through the door and fearfully asked my mother, Are we Jewish? I mean, we didn’t eat anything that remotely looked like what my teacher had drawn on the board. On Hanukka, my mother prepared ring-shaped pastries and other sweet, fried dough delicacies. She just smiled at me and told me that of course we were Jewish, and that each community made their own types of fried pastries on Hanukka. From that day on I became obsessed with the different dishes prepared by the various Jewish communities.