Jewish Resilience through Chocolate, with Rabbi Deborah R. Prinz
ENGLISH CORNER, CON LINDA JIMÉNEZ – This week’s trivia question: In the 16th and 17th centuries on what ritual occasions did Jews in Mexico drink chocolate?
Rabbi Deborah Prinz is Rabbi Emerita of Temple Adat Shalom in San Diego County, California, where she held the position of Senior Rabbi for almost twenty years. Prior to that she was, for seven years, the Rabbi of a synagogue in Bergen County, New Jersey, and also the Assistant Rabbi of Central Synagogue in Manhattan. Rabbi Prinz has held a number of leadership positions in the national and regional Reform movement. She has also published in scholarly, professional and popular journals.
Rabbi Prinz has done extensive research on chocolate and religion. She currently lectures about this around the world and blogs at the Huffington Post, the Forward, ReformJudaism.org, and onthechocolatetrail.org. She was awarded a Starkoff Fellowship and a Director’s Fellowship from the American Jewish Archives as well as a Gilder Lehrman Fellowship from the Rockefeller Library to pursue her research, which culminated in her book, On the Chocolate Trail. Using information gathered from travel in many countries around the world, the book explores how faith traditions share consumption, ritual and business interests in chocolate.
The book is extremely entertaining while at the same time being a scholarly work, including copious notes with references and websites as well as an extensive bibliography. Prinz delves into the history of chocolate and its relationship to various religions, as well as discussing how to select the best chocolate, the ethics of chocolate production and chocolate museums and tours around the world, including North and South America, Europe, Africa, Israel and even New Zealand. Each chapter includes a recipe that is related to the subject covered.
Rabbi Prinz lectures internationally on Jewish Resilience through Chocolate, and her book inspired the exhibition “Semi[te] Sweet: On Jews and Chocolate” at Temple Emmanu-El’s Bernard Museum in New York. The exhibit has traveled throughout the country and is available to organizations that are interested in displaying it.