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PAGE 16A HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, JANUARY 26, 2018 Peanut Butter Pie with Bacon* Chef Ari Feingold Straw & Proposition Chicken Suggested Wine Pairing: Late Harvest Semiilon ~wi~out b~con ~; ~e re9e~a6ans Peanut butter pie with bacon at the "Trefa Banquet 2.0." Lydia DaniUer The menu at the original Trefa Banquet. ByDavidA.M. Wilensky leaders of the early American eration lobster-eating rabbi." Reform movement made a Her dad was ordained in SAN FRANCISCO (J. the bold, antagonistic statement 1934 at HUC in Cincinnati, Jewish News of Northern by serving nonkosher dishes the site of the original Trefa Californiavia JTA)--"Az men to commemorate the ordina- Banquet, and she grew up est khazer, zol es shoyn rinen tion of the first graduating knowingallaboutthatnotori- ibern moyl" goes an old Yid- class of Hebrew Union Col- ous meal, Angel said. dish saying: "If you're going lege in Cincinnati.As the story Lobster held a special place to eat pork, eat it until your is often told, a group of rabbis in her family. It was, she told mouth drips." stormedoutinprotestandran me, "our family celebratory Sunday night at Brick & off to start the Conservative meal, but always at home. Mortar Music Hall here, the movement. We only ate lobster out when mouths of rabbis and foodies But as Jewish studies pro- we were in Maine." Well, dripped with Peanut Butter fessor Rachel Gross of San naturally. PiewithBacon, aRabbitCrepi- Francisco State University They even hadabrachafor nette and a Pulled Pork Potato told the crowd Sunday night, lobster: "'Thank you for all Kugel with barbecue sauce, that story is only kind of true. gifts of land and sea,' motzi-- The occasionwas the"Trefa The San Francisco eventthen crack it open!" Banquet 2.0," a delicious was organized by Alix Wall, a Angel said her family de- spread of treif (nonkosher contributing editor to J. who lighted in this sort of thing. food) made by local Jewish writes its "Organic Epicure My mother loved sending chefsandservedupwithaside column, as part of the I1- me to school during Passover of Jewish learning and--get luminoshi, a not-so-secret with a lunch of matzah with this!--a communal bracha organization she founded for ham and cheese," she said. (blessing) for treif led by a localJewsworkinginthefood This led to teasing from an- local rabbi, industry. Following Gross' other Jewish classmate, who During what was practi- talk, anarrayofBayAreachefs felt this somehow diminished cally a seder of liturgy, sym- presentedabuffetmealoftreif, Angel's Jewish cred. bolic foods and a narrative treif and more treif. In the middle of our con- recounting of an important When I first arrived, Iversation, Angel called out Jewish legend, a foundational struckupaconversationwith to a nearby figure, the only myth of American Judaism RabbiCamilleAngel, formerly personbesidesmyselfwearing was memorialized, decon- of CongregationShaarZahav, akippah. structed--and then eaten. San Francisco's historically "Rabbi, what do you have The originalTrefa Banquet gay synagogue. She proudly there?" she asked. was an 1883 event at which identifies as a "second-gen- Rabbi Sydney Mintz of Re- The once a :itrus Call 1-877-599-9729 to Order Item 2693X or Visit HaleGroves.comdJ19131 Only $27.99 plus $5.99 shipping & processing. Satisfacfion completely guaranteed. IC: 88W-J931 form Congregation Emanu-El in San Francisco looked up. "Bacon!" she said cheer- fully, popping another tiny chocolate cup filled with peanut butter pudding and bacon into her mouth. Then the learning began. "Our story starts on July 11, 1883, one of the most infamous days in American Jewish history," Gross said, setting the scene. "It was a hot and humid evening in Cincinnati. Two hundred and fifteen guests had assembled at the High- land House, a resort and restaurant, overlooking the Ohio River. They included a who's who list of the most elite Jewish leaders in the United States, as well as local non- Jewish civic leaders, Christian clergy and professors from the University of Cincinnati." The banquet was an elabo- rate, ostentatious affair: The guests were treated to "an or- chestra and elaborate printed menu adorned with bright blue feathers that promised nine courses of French cui- sine pairedwith five alcoholic drinks." (The French on the menu, she pointed out, is terrible.) "The menu's list of dishes, its language and its visual appearance all sug- gest how the celebration was part of the excessive banquet culture of its era." Most of Gross' material came from the research and work of Rabbi Lance Sussman of Reform Congregation Ken- eseth Israel in Elkins Park, Pennsylvania. Following his lead, Gross argued that to most of the guests, there was nothing remarkable about the food. "Almost every violation of kashrut was in evidence-- seafood, nonkosher meat, mixing milk and meat. This tells us, and we know from an enormous amount of other historical evidence--includ- ing cookbooks written and used by Jews--that it was normal for many American Jews in the 19th century not to keep kosher," she said. "I do not think that this menu was intended to be provocative." It is not until Rabbi David Philipson's eyewitness ac- count of the event written 60 years later in a 1941 autobi- ography that the myth of the founding of the Conservative movement creeps into the story. "Terrific excitement ensued when two rabbis rose from their seats and rushed from the room," he wrote. "Shrimp had been placed before them as the opening course of the elaborate menu." (In fact, the first course included clams, not shrimp.) Gross said Phil- ipson went on to connect that moment to the founding of the Conservative movement. Yet the historical evidence points to a different origin of the Conservative move- ment: the Reform movement's 1885 Pittsburgh Platform, in which, among other things, they renounced kashrut as an archaic practice, "entirely foreign to our present mental and spiritual state." The following year, the Conservative movement's flagship body, the Jewish Theological Seminary, was founded. But the legend of the Trefa Banquet makes for a terrific story. "The fact that American Jews still tell the story of that night in Cincinnati in 1883 tells us that debates about food practices have been central to the ways that American Jews think about themselves, the stories they tell about them- selves and the ways they orga- nize themselves," Gross said in closing. "American Jews have always had a wide range of eating habits, definingwhat it means to eat Jewishly in a broad array of practices." Before we got to eating, Mintz came up to offer a bra- cha, substituting "shehakol" for "lechem" in the tradi- tional motzi blessing over bread. In this version, God is praised for bringing forth "everything" from the earth, not just bread--and not just kosher food. Like Angel's lobster-loving rabbinic line, many of the Jews at the dinner tied their treif observance to their family's Jewish heritage. Wall, for example, told the crowd that her mother was a child during the Holocaust, hidden with a family of Poles; she grew up eating what they ate, including plenty of pork. In this family, an essential 20th-century Jewish story of Holocaust survival is tied to pork. So for Wall, "keeping treif" (if I may coin a phrase) connected her to her Jewish history, just as keeping kosher does for others. Oded Shakked of Long- board Vineyards told the crowd of growing up in Israel, where his family would go to Jaffa for cheap or even free shrimp. "The fishermen just tossed them aside!" he said. Again, a family treif tradition. "I didn't grow up with ba- con," chefAri Feingold told me as he carefully inserted more bits of bacon into the peanut butter dessert. I met Bryan Tublin of the recently opened San Francisco restaurant Kitava. His restaurant is "fast casual" but gluten free, and focuses on "healthy fats and oils," "mind- ful meats" and "conscientious sourcing." Tublin doesn't keep kosher, but restaurants like his offer up food with fussy and exacting standards that rival anything in kashrut. Wall told me the story of a Maryland Jewish family in which everyone loved crab except the man of the house. When the family ate crab, he would outline a mechitza (or more of an eruv?) made of silverware to separate his kosher meal from the crab- spattered table. As Mintz told me earlier in the evening, "I would rather eat food that's humanely and ethically raised than kosher." For some Jews, ethically pro- duced food is their kashrut, and they're willing to say so publicly. In rejecting kashrut, some progressive Jews keep boundary setting at the heart of their conscientious approach to food. Judaism--and the history of the Reform movement in particular--is full of this: not a transgression of religion, but transgression as religion. And as a Reform Jew by heritage and an enthusiastic chroni- cler of our religion in all its unusual forms, I love it. This piece was originally published by J. The Jewish News of Northern California as an installment of David AM. Wilensky's "Jew in The Pew"column on Jewish ritual and religion around the San Francisco Bay Area.