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November 28, 2014

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HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, NOVEMBER 28, 2014 PAGE 11A LF W; By Shannon Sarna NEW YORK (JTA)---Janna Gur's "The Book of New Israeli Food" has sat on my kitchen counter with my other favorite cookbooks for years, and I frequently pull it out for friends and fam- ily who are unfamiliar with Israeli cuisine, sayi ng, "This is the book you need to buy to understand food in Israel." Gur's newly published sequel, "Jewish Soul Food: From Minsk to Marrakesh" (Random House), is even more beautiful than its pre- decessor and more accessible to an American audience. While in New York on a book tour, Gur took time out to chat with me at a Manhat- tan cafe. (The interview has been condensed and edited.) JTA: How did you become a cookbook author? Gur: I got into this business by accident 22 years ago when my husband was working on a marine sports magazine, and I became very interested in the layout, editing and general production of putting out a magazine:We decided to expand the business together, and it was at that point we Dan Perez Janna Gur sees lsraefi cuisine as being in the second stage of a revolution. started A1 Hashulchan (On the Table) magazine. It was originally intended as a trade magazine for chefs and caterers but quickly became popular with amateur foodies and home cooks. Within a few months, food became my life. When we decided to work on an Israeli cookbook, I didn't imagine myself actually writing it but thought I would just edit it. In the end, though, I couldn't find someone who would carry out my vision, so I decided to write it myself. What was your vision? I wanted to tell the story of what happened in Israel food-wise over the last two decades. I wanted to talk about the markets, holidays, Shabbat, olive oil, wine. And I wanted to juxtapose tradi- tional recipes with modern takes on them from Israeli chefs. Israeli food is certainly having its moment=--why do you think this is happening now? I think the question of tim- ing has been very important in this. In some ways, my first book was a bit premature. But now [restaurateur and cookbook author Yotam] Ot- tolenghi has really done more to promote Israeli cuisine than all the tourism efforts combined. We are still in the middle of a revolution, just the second stage. If the first phase started in the 1990s, then we now have an entire generation of Israelis in their 20s and 30s who are foodies in a different way. They take great food for granted. For example, my daughter, even if she is on a budget, has to buy great bread, has to buy high-quality goat cheese and has to raid our wine supply when she comes to visit. We do that to my in-laws, too. Glad to see stealing good wine from your parents tran- scends the Israeli-Diaspora line. Yes, exactly. Like Ameri- cans, younger Israelis want to feel connected to authentic food. It's less about gourmet experiences. Young people are opening smaller food establishments, less expen- sive. We are part of a global food phenomenon and also uniquely Israeli. What gets you excited about food in Israel currently? Agood example is what Eyal Shani is doing at his restau- rant MiT, non in Tel Aviv. He is probably the most talented chef in Israel currently. We recently had these pitas there that were stuffed with liver, beef stew, baked potato--all different, exciting fillings. It's not Israeli fusion food; it's Israeli food that is local and elevated. Did you have any formal food training for your work? No, because I didn't need training. I am not a chef and I never pretend to be one. I don't think most food editors were trained as chefs. By the very fact I had to go through so many recipes, texts and books--in the end you just amass a lot of knowledge. As I got interested in food, I got more and more interested in cooking and started cooking more myself. But even now I don't regard myself as a cook; I am a food person. What inspired you to write "Jewish Soul Food"? I came to the realization that there is a whole World of Jewish dishes that are on the verge of extinction, and the only place they all still exist is in Israel. If you are Italian and want to connect with your culinary roots, it is easy: You hop on a plane and go to northern Italy or southern Italy and eat. If you are an Iraqi Jew and want to connect with your culinary roots, there is nowhere to go. At least not back to Iraq. I wanted to preserve these recipes, and the only way isto cook them and make people want to eat them. So I wanted this collection of recipes to be dishes that are worth preserv- ing and delicious. And not overly complicated. When you are in New Yorl~, what do you love to eat? And what do you miss about Israeli food? I love that you can have anything! Just the other day my husband and I stumbled upon aVietnamese restaurant in Chinatown that was fan- tastic. There is such a variety of foods. You can wake up in the morning and say today I want Mexican, and you have 50 choices. What I miss is sort of obvi- ous: I m!ss my salad and light- er, more colorful food. You can find this in New York City, but you have to look for it. In Israel I can go anywhere--right in my own neighborhood--to eat this way. What do you hope Ameri- cans will take away from the way Israelis eat? I want Americans to learn from the way Israelis treat vegetables. We know how to make vegetable sexy. For us, vegetables are not a punish- ment, they are something exciting. Shannon Sarna writes "The Nosher " blog on MyJew- ishLearning. e e Sudoku (see page 14 for solution) SUDOKU Cnaan Liphshiz Stephan Tempi was convicted of defrauding the Austrian government out of $700,000 in connection with a Holocaust restitution application. By Cnaan Liphshiz mother received when she tion, Austrian-Style,'isavocal sold the property, critic of Austria's Holocaust- VIENNA(JTA)--AnAustri- Templ rejected the al-era conduct. ]n the book, he an official's letter is threaten- legation, but when he asked identified indvidual families ing to undermine the central government officials where thatmovedinbJewishhomes pillar of a controversial court he should return the money, in the 1930s ater their lawful decision that found a Jewish Windisch wrote to Templ's owners had ben deported. journalistguiltyofdefrauding attorney, "The republic makes In the earb. 2000s, Tempi the government, no claims against your client led tour grmps to see the On Sept. 9, senior state at- in connection with the con- stolenhouses uringwhichhe torneyMartinWindischwrote duct of your client." totedaloudspaker, occasion- that the government "makes Templ's attorney, the re- ally calling ok the names of no claims" against Stephan nowned human rights lawyer the families tht had come to Tempi, who was sentenced in Robert Amsterdam, has pe- live in them. April to three years in jail for titioned prosecutors to have It was "unbrgivable con- cheating Austria out of half the case declared a mistrial, duct,"veteran,ustrianJewish the value of a sanatorium "This statement basically journalist Kat Pfeiffer said, confiscatedbytheNazis from voidsthe ruling,"Amsterdam in a country that initially one of Templ's relatives. In told JTA. resisted offerng restitution May, the Austrian Supreme Theletter is the latest twist because it chimed to be a Court upheld the ruling but in a case that generated an victim of the Nazis and ac- reduced Templ's sentence to international uproar over knowledgedit:Holocaust-era one year. what many in Austria and culpability the first time ThecourtfoundthatTempl abroadsaw as botha miscar- onlyin 1993. had defraudedAustria by fail- riage of justice and a sign that "The case against Templ ing in his 2006 restitution Austrian society has not fully is absurd," Pfeiffer said. "The application to mention his come to termswith its murky only reason Templ was pros- mother's estranged sister, Holocaust record, ecuted is that he touched whowould have been entitled Templ, author of the 2001 a nerve and reminded the to half the $1.4 million his book "Our Vienna: Aryaniza- Austrians of how they stole Jewish property with his book. So they put him in jail." Critics of the original rul- ing noted that Austria never legally owned the property and therefore cannot be regarded as a victim of Templ's actions, as prosecutors claimed. Oth- ers point out that Austria's laws do not require restitution claimants to list other heirs. "This case should have been a civil matter between the Templs and the sister," said Stuart Eizenstat, a former U.S. deputy secretary of the Treasury who led restitution negotiations with Swiss banks in the 1990s and helped set up Austria's restitution system. Eizenstat said the ruling is "almost inexplicable." The notion that Templ's conviction was payback for his criticism was explored at length by reporters covering the affair. The Independent called Templ the "author who shamed Austria" and the trial was deemed "Kafkaesque" by the Austrian Tageszeitung Kurier. The Dutch weekly NIW described Templ as "the victim of a legalistic vendetta." "Austria has taken a lot of criticism for many injus- tices in its treatment of Jews from the late 1930s onward," said Manfred Gerstenfeld, a Vienna-born researcher of anti-Semitism who lives in Jerusalem. "It may well be that what we are seeing is a decision by some officials to get rid of the headache that Templ's case has brought and may bring to them." Windisch, the country's most senior attorney on finan: cial issues, or Finanzprokura- tur, denies this. In an email to JTA, Windisch said his letter was not intended to distance Austria from the conviction. However, he reiterated that the Austrian federal govern- ment had suffered no dam- age from Templ's action and that the Federal Real Estate Agencyhad ceded all claims to Templ's aunt, Elisabeth Kretschmer. "In conclusion, it is clear from the above that my letter was not designed to distance the Republic of Austria or the Finanzprokuratur from the ruling against Mr. Tempi, but to state in clear terms that only Dr. Kretschmer is entitled to a claim against Mr. Templ under private law, so that a i)ossible adjustment of damages can only take place between Mr. Templ and Dr. Kretschmer," hewrote. Eizenstat said he thought the letter gave "reasonable ground" for the case to be opened or for the Austrian Supreme Court to intervene. But Amsterdam isn't taking any chances. "I'm focusing my attention on keeping Stephan out of jail," he told JTA. 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