Monday, 22 December 2014

Why Our Hanukkah Jelly Doughnut Is Proof We Are A Melting Pot Nation



It's that time of the year, when my favorite pastimes start with the letter S or ס.

You got it -- Sivivon -- סביבון -- that's Hebrew for dreidel, and Sufganiya -- סופגניה -- Hebrew for jelly doughnut. And yes, I know Hanukkah's about to end, but I'm still spinning with joy.  

I love Sufganiyot so much, that today I decided to find out how they became the favorite Hanukkah food over here in Israel.  

Here's what I found out: It all began with the North African Jewish tradition of eating Sfenj on Hanukkah -- small, deep fried doughnuts -- like the ones being fried in this photo taken in Morocco.

When Jews from Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya and Egypt (countries in North Africa) moved to Israel and started mixing with Jews from Central and Eastern Europe, they found out about a Yiddish delicacy called Ponchkes, which is like the Russian Ponchik, that looks like this: 

Doesn't look like Ponchiks had any kind of filling, so you can imagine how happy they were to find out about the German Berliner, with jelly dripping out of the side.

Yum-mmmy!!! And now, for the final touch. The combined Israeli nation put all their ingredients into their melting pot -- fried North African Sfenj, Russian Ponckiks and German Berliners -- by taking two circles of dough, sticking them together with a jelly filling and deep frying them into a one piece jelly bun for Hanukkah. 

And so the Sufganiyah was born!

What about you? Do you know how Jelly Doughnuts came to America?

Nooooo....not through Dunkin Doughnuts.

I'm going to whet your appetite by starting you off:

One theory is that Dutch settlers invented them, calling them Oliekoek - which literally means means "Oil Cake" -- a sweetened cake fried in fat.  Today. I think they're called Oliebollen, and they look like this:  

Now it's your turn. You take it from here.

Did the Dutch really bring jelly doughnuts to America or did combined ethnic American groups cook it up in their melting pot? You gotta watch it. If you're like me, you'll find that research can create an unbelievable appetite!!!!! 

Enjoy and let me know what you find out! 


Sufganiyot Photo Credit

Sfenj Photo Credit

Ponchik Photo Credit

German Berliner Photo Credit

Oliebollen Image


Shabbat Around the World

We Jews are a diverse people, with communities all over the world creating engaging Shabbat customs.

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