Posts Tagged ‘Hebrew’

He’Brew’s Finally Brewing Its Own Brews

September 25, 2013

This piece was first published on The Jew and the Carrot blog at the Forward.

Jeremy Cowan started Shmaltz Brewing 17 years ago. Now, he’ll help brew his first batches in-house.

Jeremy Cowan started Shmaltz Brewing 17 years ago. Now, he’ll help brew his first batches in-house.

After 17-years of contracting out their beer brewing, Shmaltz Brewing Company, known for its award-winning HE’BREW craft beers, has finally moved in to its own brewery in Upstate New York. With the new space, there’s a lot of new developments on tap.

In honor of the new facility’s opening this summer, Shmaltz’s sole proprietor Jeremy Cowan and consulting brewmaster Paul McErlean came up with the company’s first-ever Black India Pale Ale. “Huge, rich, roast-y…a lot of chocolate. We wanted to make the malt profile extremely forward…an incredibly complex black malty beer that was hopped as much as we could possibly get in there,” is how Cowan described the brew’s flavor in a video shot at the brewery’s grand opening celebration.

Fittingly, the brew was called “Death of a Contract Brewer,” and it holds to a shiva (the seven-day Jewish mourning ritual) theme, with seven malts, seven hops, and seven percent alcohol by volume.

Cowan, 44, promises that he will continue to employ his Jewish sense of humor, but he is serious when it comes to the reasons for opening his own brewery after so many years of championing contract brewing. “It’s about being in control of my destiny,” Cowan recently told the Jew and the Carrot. “I now have the opportunity to pay close, personal attention to the details, like the consistency of recipes and the exact science that goes in to making the same brew twice.”

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© 2013 Renee Ghert-Zand. All rights reserved.

Jewish Languages from Bukhori to Juhuri

May 29, 2013

This piece was first published on The Arty Semite blog at the Forward.

Ross Perlin

Ross Perlin

When asked to name Jewish languages, most people would say Hebrew and Yiddish. Some might also mention Ladino or Aramaic. It’s unlikely that they would know about Juhuri, Bukhori and Judeo-Median — and that is precisely why the Jewish Languages Project of the Endangered Language Alliance has come into being.

Juhuri, Bukhori and Judeo-Median are among the several dozen distinct languages Jews have spoken across the world throughout the millennia. Most of them are no longer spoken, and those that are still in use are in danger of disappearing.

“Scholarship on Jewish languages has been sporadic, and no one has focused on endangered ones,” said Ross Perlin, assistant director of the Endangered Languages Alliance and director of its Jewish Languages project. (Perlin is also a Forward contributor and was named to the 2012 Forward 50.) He, together with ELA executive director Daniel Kaufman and Persian language expert Habib Borjian, is trying to document, describe and preserve these languages, beginning with Juhuri, Bukhori and Judeo-Median. All three languages have Persian connections, with Juhuri spoken by Jews from southwest Iran and Caucasian Jews of Russia and Azerbaijan, Buhkori from southwest Iran and Central Asia, and Judeo-Median spoken by Jews from northwest-central Iran.

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© 2013 Renee Ghert-Zand. All rights reserved.

A Trilingual Jewish Preschool in San Francisco

May 23, 2013

This article was first published as “At this preschool, 1-2-3 comes in three languages” in JWeekly.

Jackie, 4, learns Hebrew letters and phonics, but some of her classmates are learning Russian.

Jackie, 4, learns Hebrew letters and phonics, but some of her classmates are learning Russian.

“This is fun!” exclaims a little girl dressed all in pink, from her Hello Kitty hat down to her sneakers, as she traces the letters of the Russian alphabet.

She is doing the exercise as part of her Russian language pre-kindergarten class at Shalom School, which is run by Chabad of San Francisco.

She and her 4- and 5-year-old classmates sing songs and recite traditional Russian nursery rhymes with their teacher, Ella Kasminskaya.

Speaking with the children almost exclusively in Russian, Kasminskaya, a native of Uzbekistan who has been at Shalom School for 15 years, works on counting and basic conversation with them. They are especially engaged when she reads a picture book with them — calling out not only the names of each animal, but also the Russian versions of the sounds they make.

While it’s not uncommon to hear Hebrew and English at Jewish preschools, it is unusual to hear Russian.

At Shalom School, it’s a mix of all three.

Currently, there are 35 children at the Richmond District school — some from Russian-speaking families, some from families where a lot of Hebrew is spoken and some from households where English is spoken.

Seventeen of them are enrolled in one of two pre-K intensive language programs: 10 are in the Hebrew class and seven are taking Russian.

The language program — which will expand in the fall with the addition of a transitional kindergarten class — is the brainchild of Hinda Langer, the director of the 16-year-old school.

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© 2013 Renee Ghert-Zand. All rights reserved.