Connecting Cultures through the Common Language of Food in Jerusalem

Andy in Israel

How have you connected across cultures through food? What new discoveries did you find?

On my recent trip to Jerusalem, I explored a wide range of cuisines and recipes. While my initial goal was finding new recipes for Breaking Matzo, I ended up finding new friendships and fun.

During my two days in Jerusalem, I visited over 15-20 restaurants and food shops. I explored the following: Iraqi, Kurdish, Lebanese, Libyan, Moroccan, Palestinian, Russian, and Turkish cuisines! Each restaurant proprietor welcomed me enthusiastically into their kitchens and introduced me to their food secrets. It was so much fun. My guide explained I was the founder of Breaking Matzo and that was the magic key to opening the gates to their food kingdom.

Given the diverse range of cultures, flavors and languages, I was pleasantly surprised at how easily we all connected and communicated when speaking the common language of food. Breaking Matzo is committed to highlighting people of different flavors sharing a common purpose.

In reflecting on how easily food can bridge cultural divide, I thought about the Story of the Tower of Babel in Genesis.

People attempted to build a tower to reach the heavens. In some ways, mankind used its collective power to disregard the sanctity of God and reach the heavens on their own. As a result, God divided mankind into 70 Groups, each with its own language.

Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the LORD did there confound the language of all the earth: and from thence did the LORD scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth.
— Genesis 11:1–9

In some ways, I believe that celebrating food cultures from around the world is actually uniting us all. Each of the recipes I explored were examples of each culture’s attempt to connect with holidays through unique flavors. Each dish helps children and adults remember holiday celebrations. I loved the smile and joy that each chef had in describing their recipes.

I hope Breaking Matzo continues to unite us all in our quest for culinary connection and holiday harmony.  Food is our common language, connecting human hearts and uniting our beautiful planet.

Special thanks to Andy’s guides, Ami Giz and Ruthie Genah Gutman.