Superb Blurb: 97 Orchard

97 Orchard: An Edible History of Five Immigrant Families in One New York Tenement by Jane Ziegelman

The Chapter on the Gumpertz Family (what a name!) includes a bit from a dinner guest observing that a wealthy Jew’s spread included ham and attempting to get the host to reconcile that fact with the traditional kosher rules and regs.

“Well,” said the host, “I belong to that portion of the people of Israel who are changing the customs of our fathers to conform to the times and country in which we live. We make a distinction between what is moral in the law, and, of course, binding, and what is sanitary. The pork of Palestine was diseased and unwholesome. It was not fit to be eaten, and therefore was prohibited. But Moses never tasted a slice of Cincinnati ham. Had he done so, he would have commanded it to be eaten.”

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