Black American Jews Share Their Passover Traditions

Tema Smith, 38, a multiracial Black Jewish woman in Toronto who works as an educator and diversity advocate, said she felt inspired by the work of Mr. Twitty, a friend and colleague.

“As Jews become more diverse in the US, and are in more racially diverse leadership roles, modeling that it’s OK to bring all of your culture into Judaism is really beautiful and important, because food is such an important part of who we are,” she said.

Mr. Twitty recalled his first Passover celebration, when he was in high school, as the moment he connected with the holiday’s deeper, progressive themes. “My general impression was that it was these ideas about freedom and about your culture’s destiny, and your people’s destiny, that were being discussed,” he said. “It develops into a full-blown conversation that lasts the better part of the whole night.”

The holiday, he said, can be a reminder of the work that needs to be done in the United States and around the world.

“We’re making a claim on how we do our culture,” he said. “There have been Jews of African descent since there was Judaism. And we won’t stop telling that story.”

Audio produced by Tally Abecassis.

Recipes: Matzo Meal Fried Chicken | Kachumbari (Tomato and Onion Relish) | West African-Inspired Brisket

Fried chicken goes with just about any wine, as long as the wine is not too oaky or tannic, which essentially means that you can choose anything you like. I love Champagne—it goes beautifully with most fried dishes. Riesling is great as well, either dry or moderately sweet. My other top choices among whites include Chablis, dry chenin blancs and assyrtiko from Santorini. If you prefer red, pinot noir is a great choice. So is Beaujolais or Sangiovese. You could drink a modest Bordeaux or a restrained malbec, whether from Mendoza or Cahors. If you are preparing this dish for Passover, many of these wines are available in kosher versions. You could also try good Israeli producers like Domaine du Castel and Tzora, or kosher American producers like Hagafen and Covenant, which makes wine in Israel as well. ERIC ASIMOV

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