Is the Jewish Deli the New Synagogue? Professor Gross Explores in New Book

Thursday, February 11, 2021
Plates of eggs, sandwiches, bagels and lox, and french toast from Wise Sons Deli

THE NEW YORK JEWISH WEEK -- Gross, assistant professor and John and Marcia Goldman Chair in American Jewish Studies at San Francisco State University, spoke to the Jewish Week from her home in San Francisco.

“A huge part of Jewish identity across the board is engaging with food, because food is a way that humans create communities and tell their stories,” Gross said. “The idea that food is only important for Jews who are not otherwise engaged in Jewish life seems like a silly dichotomy. The concern, of course, is that people who aren’t going to synagogue are only going to delis. One of the things I’m pointing out is that they’re often doing other things as well — you might be going to a deli and you might be going to a museum and engaging in different forms of Jewish culture.”