A Flavorful Celebration of Jewish Culinary Identities

Despite making up just about two percent of the U.S. population, Jews remain keepers of an incredibly varied culture. We see this first-hand in the wide range of Jewish identities which exist in America alone — an Israeli Jew may arrive in the U.S. cooking with chickpeas and pomegranates, only to balk at the copious amounts of “white food” which many Ashkenazi Jews consume. Likewise, latkes and gefilte fish may seem so intrinsically Jewish to these Eastern European Jewish communities that shunning them is to eschew Judaism entirely. Jewish culture is, therefore, dependent upon the interpreter’s own experiences, creating a collection of identities as varied as its people. Yet despite their differences, these groups unite themselves under the larger “Jewish” title, celebrating tradition and commitment to the community in similar ways: Through food.

CONTRERAS | Hecha en America

“But where are you really from?”: An insult disguised as a question. It implies that the recipient is not truly American, regardless of how they identified the first time the question was posed. I’ve been asked this question dozens of times since I started my undergraduate career. In my sophomore year, a classmate asked me where I was from, to which I simply replied, “Chicago.” This answer proved to be, of course, unsatisfactory. She continued to probe, asking me “where I’m really from” to which I replied, once more, “Chicago.”

Yet, she was determined.

PIETSCH | The Reality of Student Leadership

I once sat in on a college info session, where a stereotype named Jessica gushed about her love for the musicals she’d produced at her university. I don’t remember her major; I don’t remember the others who’d spoken on the panel; I don’t even remember the university where this took place. But I remember Jessica’s presumed willingness to die for her college, and the musically inclined students she led. I remember the life in her eyes when she described the fulfillment student leadership awarded her. It was a true college love story, which inspired and nauseated me simultaneously.

AHMAD | To All the Mentors I’ve Had Before

If I’m being completely honest, I hated Cornell when I first started attending. It was nothing personal, it was mainly just a combination of homesickness, intimidation and the infamous adjustment period. Unfortunately, my so-called adjustment period felt more like a chronic state and lasted much, much longer than I anticipated. When I look back at my time here — something that I tend to do a lot these days as it’s my last semester — I realize that the primary reason I got through it, and eventually began to love Cornell, was because of the mentors I’ve had along the way. In my freshman year, against this background of inner turmoil and a sense of not fitting in, I was simultaneously trying to orient myself onto the pre-med track.

AHMAD | Who Am I?

Countless times throughout my undergraduate career as a psychology major, I’ve been forced to memorize lists of psychologists’ names and their corresponding theories. These theories are sometimes fascinating and other times mortifying (yes, I’m looking at you, Freud), but they are almost never memorable. Sure, I can generally tell you what Kohlberg’s theory of morality is, or half-heartedly explain what Piaget’s deal was. I’ve never fully understood what was up with Freud, but I could still monotonously recite his psychosexual stages if you really wanted me to. My point is, none of the details of these psychological theories ever stood out to me.

REDDY | Mindful Resistance

Jiddu Krishnamurthy was a prominent figure in eastern Indian wisdom throughout the 20th century. He believes everything, including all life, is interconnected. He would likely recoil at “eastern Indian wisdom” because it demarcates specific arbitrary groups. “Eastern,” “Indian” and the like. Social psychology tells us that as an in-group becomes more mobilized and tight-knit, the atmosphere is increasingly  ripe for conflict with out-groups — individuals seek out similarities and in turn segregate differences.