Many members of the Jewish community will agree that one of the most basic and pervasive qualities shared by those who identify with Jewish heritage; whether that be an ethnic identity, a state/place identity, or a religious affiliation, is food.

Jews are eaters. My university Jewish Studies professors at Carolina were often either talking about food, or actively feeding us. Many memoirs of Holocaust survivors recall in great detail the diet ~ or lack there of ~ present in Nazi concentration camps, and others even trace out the escalation of the war through anecdotes of meals becoming more and more scarce. Though Corrie Ten Boom herself was not Jewish, she hosted many Jews who had become sudden fugitives, and speaks in The Hiding Place about the ways she and her sister would try and make rations stretch, resteeping tea until it was essentially hot water.

I absolutely LOVED concentrating on Jewish Studies at UNC Chapel Hill. The faculty in the religious studies departments are phenomenal, and share a wealth of resources and experiences. One of my professors was a world renown archeologist who used to screen her own documentaries in class, and another was an Israeli film producer who used to work with the Hebrew Seasame Street. He, and my other favorite professor taught seminar classes at the 200+ level. Having smaller sized courses allowed them the opportunity to feed their students. Well.

I got sad this morning randomly remembering all that, and thinking of how generous and loving it was for them to open their homes and their wallets and their lives to us students, and how I missed out on really receiving that love and embracing the opportunity to be fed.

Food just was not that important to me (or so I had concluded) and as an introvert it doesn’t always buffer the angst that comes with making new intimate acquaintances. I think food and public school have always been problematic for me. Food is personal and intimate; public school is loud and chaotic. Hectic. Slightly traumatic, even at the university level.

If I have any regrets from college it would definitely be my sheer inability to let my guard down and enjoy the experience of being physically nourished by those who were feeding my mind.

~ b


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