web analytics
April 20, 2014 / 20 Nisan, 5774
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post
Spa 1.2 Combining Modern Living in Traditional Jerusalem

A unique and prestigious residential project in now being built in Mekor Haim Street in Jerusalem.



Poopa Dweck: Aromas of Aleppo


Share Button

I recently attended a very interesting lecture at Netanya’s Laniado Hospital. The venue for the lecture may give you an erroneous impression: it had nothing to do with disease; on the contrary, it had much to do with the delights of good health. It was a lecture by an exceptional cook combined with a cooking demonstration and tasting party of delectable dishes produced in the Syrian-Jewish kitchen. It took place in the Cooking Demonstration Room of Laniado and the entrance fee went to the benefit of the hospital.

Mrs. Poopa Dweck, the cook-lecturer, a chic, charming woman, is the author of a monumental, beautifully illustrated cookbook, Aromas of Aleppo: The Legendary Cuisine of Syrian Jews. Herself a scion of a Jewish family from Aleppo, Poopa Dweck is deeply immersed in the traditions of the Aleppian Jewish community. The core of these traditions, in her words, is the food, the various cooked and baked delicacies that express not only the essence but also the deep religious and historic associations of this Jewish society’s soul.

Countless numbers of recipes reflect deeply held beliefs. For instance, the 12 small loaves of pitta called “khubz” that the Aleppian housewife prepares for the Friday evening meal symbolize the 12 loaves of showbread, or lehem panim, that were placed on the Table in the Holy Temple to represent the Divine Presence. A dish called slihat, containing almonds − symbol of fertility − was cooked expressly for a woman after delivery.

Aromas of Aleppo is not merely a cookbook; it is a delightful journey in a slice of Jewish history. It tells of Jewish presence in Aleppo as early as 6th century B.C.E, to be supplanted by a large influx of Jews from Spain in the years following their expulsion in 1492. Aleppo became the center of silk and spice trade and the “gem of Arabian cooking.” More than other Jewish communities in the Middle East, the Jews of Aleppo integrated Arab cuisine with certain adjustments for the laws of kashrut.

“This book is a reflection of the women who have really been the main reason we have defied assimilation,” says Poopa Dweck. A firm believer in women’s power through maintaining a traditional Jewish home in which the kitchen plays a central role, Poopa and her friends began collecting these time-honored recipes more than 30 years ago. Out of concern that these were retained only in the memory of older cooks, and would one day be lost, the women started the project of recipe compilation in a red vinyl binder called “Deal Delights” after their New Jersey domicile. The collection was later self-published in two volumes under the above title.

Poopa was born Joyce Kattan in Italy where her parents decided to settle when, on honeymoon in 1947, the U.N. vote (on Nov. 29) to establish the Jewish State in Palestine engendered bloody attacks on Jews in Aleppo. The name Poopa, “doll” in Italian, originated with her Italian nanny and was transplanted to Brooklyn, N.Y. where she grew up. At 18 she married Sam Dweck, a fellow Aleppian with whom she moved to Deal, N.J. − the home of a large concentration of Jews from Aleppo − to raise their six children.

When in 2003 tragedy struck – the Dwecks’ 18-year-old son Jesse was killed – Poopa, a woman of great faith, derived a blessing from her bereavement. She founded the Jesse Dweck City Learning Center in Manhattan where young men of Jesse’s age learn Torah in his memory.

A computer whiz, Jesse had helped Poopa organize her research for the book, so she elected to dedicate Aromas of Aleppo to his memory, and bequeath all proceeds from the cookbook to the Jesse Dweck City Learning Center. A highly active community leader, Poopa also founded Daughters of Sarah and is the cofounder of the Sephardic Women’s Organization.

 By her own admission, Mrs. Poopa Dweck is a devoted cook of traditional Jewish food because she is a devoted mother and grandmother, and passing these on is the secret of her design – to pass Judaism on to future generations.

Share Button

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

No Responses to “Poopa Dweck: Aromas of Aleppo”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
FBI Wanted poster for Osama bin Laden
Pakistan Library Renamed to Honor bin Laden
Latest Sections Stories
Schonfeld-logo1

Regardless of age, parents play an important role in their children’s lives.

Marriage-Relationship-logo

We peel away one layer after the next, our eyes tear up and it becomes harder and harder to see as we get closer to our innermost insecurities and fears.

Gorsky-041814-Torah

Some Mountain Jews believe they are descendents of the Ten Lost Tribes and were exiled to Azerbaijan and Dagestan by Sancheriv.

Baim-041814-Piggy

Yom Tov is about spending time with your family. And while for some families the big once-in-a-lifetime experience is great, for others something low key is the way to go.

A fascinating glimpse into the rich complexity of medieval Jewish life and its contemporary relevance had intriguingly emerged.

Dear Dr. Yael:

My heart is breaking; my husband’s friend has gotten divorced. While this type of situation is always sad, here I do believe it could have been avoided.

The plan’s goal is to provide supportive housing to 200 individuals with disabilities by the year 2020.

Despite being one of the fastest-growing Jewish communities in the U.S. – the estimated Jewish population is 70-80,000 – Las Vegas has long been overlooked by much of the Torah world.

She was followed by the shadows of the Six Million, by the ever so subtle awareness of their vanished presence.

Pesach is so liberating (if you excuse the expression). It’s the only time I can eat anywhere in the house, guilt free! Matzah in bed!

Now all the pain, fear and struggle were over and they were home. Yuli was safe and free, a hero returned to his land and people.

While it would seem from his question that he is being chuzpadik and dismissive, I wonder if its possible, if just maybe, he is a struggling, confused neshama who actually wants to come back to the fold.

I agree with the letter writer that a shadchan should respectfully and graciously accept a negative response to a shidduch offer.

Alternative assessments are an extremely important part of understanding what students know beyond the scope of tests and quizzes.

More Articles from Prof. Livia Bitton-Jackson
LBJ-032814-Halberstam

Over the years there has been no shortage of reporting about Devorah Halberstam, Ari’s mother. Even in Israel, thousands of miles from the Halberstam home, there have been frequent references in the media to Ari’s mother. Do you know why?

LBJ-031414

When Hitler entered Prague in March 1939, many Czech Jews managed to escape to Palestine, including Alice’s twin Mariane and her families.

Hannah believed that one must learn about the evils of the past so that they aren’t repeated.

Who is Rachel Azaria? Would you have guessed that this dynamo is a religious, 35-year-old woman, mother of four children, ranging in ages from ten years to eight months?

The relatively young Eitam battalion has become instrumental in IDF Southern Command’s Division 80’s efforts to keep up with the ever-changing security situation in Sinai after the fall of the Mubarak regime – and the entry of terrorist elements to the region.

Eishet Chayil is a hymn customarily recited on Friday evenings before sitting down to the Shabbat evening meal. It is a twenty-two verse poem at the conclusion of the book of Mishlei, describing the woman of valor as the ideal wife and mother.

The Nazi officers and their wives were flattered to have the beautiful, poised Arab aristocrat at their parties.

Widow of world-famous nuclear scientist and human rights activist, Dr. Andre Sakharov, and an outstanding activist in her own right, Yelena Bonner was invited to speak of the suffering she endured in Stalinist Russia. Instead, the 86-year-old leader of the Russian human rights movement chose to speak about Israel and the Jews. Why?

    Latest Poll

    Now that Kerry's "Peace Talks" are apparently over, are you...?







    View Results

    Loading ... Loading ...

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/jewess-press/impact-women-history/poopa-dweck-aromas-of-aleppo/2008/08/07/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: