For the last few months, I've connected more spiritually with Jewish foods then I have at a synagogue or holiday service such as Yom Kippur or Rosh Hashanah. I find myself observing Judaism through flavors and smells rather than Shabbas clothes or a shofar.
Jewish food is becoming my religion, it's my way of connecting to our heritage, people, and overall culture. At times I think the act of cooking is bringing me closer to G-d.
Since we've moved to New York City I've yet to find a "community" or shul my husband and I vibe with, let alone feel like this could be our place. Instead of continuing to shul hop as I call it - I began event hopping - specifically any event around Jews and food. Because honestly, there's nothing better than Jews and some schmaltzy food, right?
I've taken advantage of various Jewish cooking classes, Moishe House Without Walls Shabbat dinners and opportunities with OneTable. I truly feel at events like the ones I just named, closer to my religion. I can be standing in a room full of strangers, watching Instagram stars like Shannon Sarna braiding challah or in a group of Millennials rolling matzah balls with Chef Jonathon Posner of Wandering Food Productions and feel more connected to Judaism than ever.
It's honestly no surprise to me because, at the end of the day, Jews of my generation are finding synagogues less attractive year after year.
Plus, as interested as I am in the Torah or the history of our people, there's nothing like connecting through food or working with your hands. Something feels so amazing knowing that when you knead the challah dough, generations and generations of women before you did the same thing.
I know that with different and exciting types of Jewish foods my friends and family will further resonate with Judaism. I know that learning the foods of my husband's Bukharian culture will help our future children understand their aba's past and people.
If you get down spiritually more through food and cooking than anything else - I want to know! How do you connect with you connect with your religion? What's your favorite dish?