In coexistence initiative, 20 amateur chefs from across the globe compete for the best-tasting chickpea dish
Participants at an event dubbed the First World Championship of Hummus held in Buenos Aires, Sept. 17, 2017. (Courtesy of Muslim and Jewish Fans of Hummus)
“Make Hummus, Not War.”
That was the message behind a recent event that brought local Jews, Muslims and other Arabs together in Argentina’s bustling capital city of Buenos Aires.
On Sunday, 20 amateur chefs participated in a hummus-making competition at the Tetuan Moroccan Grill restaurant in the trendy Palermo Soho neighborhood. About 300 people showed up to see judges award a winner of what was unofficially dubbed The First World Championship of Hummus.
The event was less about competition and more about bringing people of different cultures and religions together through the food they all love.
But there was a winner: Turkey native Beynazur Ors, whose colorful hummus contained beet and red cabbage.
“We all want to respect each other,” Ors said of her fellow contestants.
Her husband, Burak, agreed.
“We all want another event like this, more time to cook and eat together,” he said.
Participants in the Buenos Aires hummus event await the results at the Tetuan restaurant, Sept. 17, 2017. (Courtesy of Muslim and Jewish Fans of Hummus)
Though it may have been the first hummus competition of its kind in Buenos Aires, the evening germinated over the course of informal get-togethers with members of the Latin American Jewish Congress and local Muslim youths. The group started three years ago simply getting coffee or tea together, but soon they invited each other to Passover and Iftar dinners. The hummus contest was an offshoot of the group, but while members of the Latin American Jewish Congress attended, there was little institutional presence.
There has been a heated debate over the years as to whether hummus is an Arab or Israeli invention — or, maybe more accurately, an ancient Jewish creation, since Israel was officially founded in 1948, long after the chickpea dish had become a Middle Eastern staple. But such discussions were not on the table Sunday.
“Instead of importing conflicts, we are exporting coexistence,” Luciano Safdie, who like the event’s other organizers wore a “Make Hummus, Not War” T-shirt, said at the end of the night.
The judges were Matias Cedarbojm, a former Jewish contestant on Argentina’s version of “MasterChef”; Gustavo Massud, owner of an Arab restaurant in Buenos Aires called Al Shark; and Argentine chef Victor Manuel Garcia.
Joan Noejovich, a local Jewish man, made it to the the semifinals.
“I prepared a Druze recipe with ingredients all imported from Israel,” he said.
His version fared better than one prepared by an Israeli expat from Jerusalem named Adi, who didn’t want to give his last name.
Beyzanur Ors, a native of Turkey, won the contest. (Courtesy of Muslim and Jewish Fans of Hummus)
Massud, who noted that his restaurant’s customers typically are half Arabs and half Jews, loved Noejovich’s hummus but said in the end he voted for Ors because it had “the flavor of food made by a mother.”
Myriam Kabbara, who runs an Islamic school in Buenos Aires, had a blast at the event.
“I enjoyed the spirit,” she said. “I never had a problem with Jewish people, and I think it is very good to show that we Jews and Muslims can be friends.”
A leading Jewish human rights organization has expressed its relief at the defeat of Hamad Bin Abdulaziz Al-Kawari – the Qatari candidate for the post of UNESCO Director General who was tainted by antisemitic links – urging at the same time that “now is not the time for democracies to abandon” the UN’s cultural, scientific and educational organization.
BUCHAREST, Romania (JTA) — When the roof of the Jewish State Theater collapsed during a 2014 snowstorm, its director reluctantly knew it was finally time to abandon the century-old building in this capital city..
Following years of neglect by authorities, the Bucharest Jewish community had fought for decades to keep the storied theater afloat. The Jewish State Theater had been a major cultural institution for Central European Jews prior to the Holocaust. Later, during communism, it was the Romanian Jewish community’s only independent institution.
Audrey Azoulay (Photo via Wikimedia Commons)
The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) chose Audrey Azoulay, France’s former Minister of Culture, as their Director General on Friday.
UNESCO’s executive board voted 30 to 28 in favor of Azoulay, rejecting Qatar’s Hamad Bin Abdul Aziz Al-Kawari, who has been accused of anti-Semitism. Azoulay must still be approved by UNESCO’s 195 members when they meet in November. If accepted, she will be the second French head of the organization, the second woman, and the first Jewish director general of UNESCO.
I am a Catalan Jew. Even though I’ve been based in Chicago for more than a year now—I moved there, of course, for love—I’ve spent most of my life in lively and lovely Barcelona, a city in which antiquity and modernity walk gracefully hand in hand. Even so, work in Barcelona has been scarce and poorly paid since the Spanish financial crisis started in 2008. This ongoing event has contributed to the rise of the Catalan independence movement among other factors. I have witnessed first-hand how independentism went from being marginal to becoming central.
Dutch documentary about the beloved Israeli fiction writer, a cult favorite in Holland, opens at the 33rd Haifa Film Festival
It seems unlikely to have two Dutch filmmakers behind “Etgar Keret: Based on a True Story,” a documentary about the beloved Israeli writer and humorist, currently premiering at the 33rd Haifa Film Festival.
Yet it is their nationality that offers filmmakers Stephane Kaas and Rutger Lemm the ability to gaze lovingly and critically at Keret, known locally and internationally for his wry, humorous short stories and essays.
The “reconciliation” accord they reached in Cairo paves the way for creating a state within a state in the Gaza Strip. The Egyptian-sponsored deal does not require Hamas to dismantle its security forces and armed wing, Ezaddin Al-Qassam. Nor does the agreement require Hamas to lay down its weapons or stop amassing weapons and preparing for war.
This is a very comfortable situation for Hamas, which has effectively been absolved of any responsibility toward the civilian population. Hamas could not have hoped for a better deal. Like Hezbollah in Lebanon, Hamas in the Gaza Strip will be permitted to maintain its own security force, while Abbas’s government oversees civilian affairs and pays salaries to civil servants.
A sigh of relief was heard last week from the New York Times to many newspapers and media outlets around the world, even in Israel, accompanied by a sneer toward the political right: He’s not a Muslim! Wow. It turns out that the mass murder in Las Vegas was committed by “only” a lunatic, Stephen Paddock, and one doesn’t have to be a jihadist to carry out a merciless massacre.
Reporters continue scratching their heads about what President Trump meant when he spoke of the “calm before the storm” recently as he was hosting a dinner for military commanders and their spouses. It seems clear to me that he was sending a powerful message to North Korea and Iran: change your behavior now or prepare to face new but unspecified painful consequences.
Most know the name of Israel’s famed spy group. The Mossad (“The Institute”) has helped protect Israel since 1949. Until recent years, the head of the Mossad was a secret. I well remember interviewing Ariel Sharon in 1998 at his office in Tel Aviv. After going through a maze of metal detectors, we waited in an outer room. Soon, a man walked down a hallway and stood before an elevator. He smiled and got on the elevator.
The New York based Center for Jewish History (CJH) remains embroiled in controversy weeks after it has been revealed that the new CEO, David N. Myers is an active leader of the New Israel Fund, If Not Now, When, J Street and other organizations that are hostile to the State of Israel. While Jewish Voices for Peace (JVP) has Myers listed in their propaganda as an academic advisor, he claims that this is inaccurate. His writings reveal hostile-to-Israel viewpoints, including the affinity for boycotts of Israel and sympathy for the Palestinian “Nakba.”