The last time I was in a gallery that smelled distinctly and deliciously of chocolate I was in Barcelona visiting Museu de la Xocolata. That is, until this week, when I entered the Herbert and Eileen Bernard Museum of Judaica at Temple Emanu-El on New York’s Upper East Side (where my grandparents were members), to check out the exhibit “[Semite] Sweet: On Jews And Chocolate.” Co-curated by frequent Forward contributor Rabbi Deborah R. Prinz, the exhibit offers a fascinating, immersive account of the Jewish history of chocolate making and merchandising, and the significant role Jews of the Diaspora played in bringing chocolate to France, America, and other places around the globe.
I couldn’t help thinking that this exhibit would make for a fun — and Jewish — way to celebrate Valentine’s Day with a loved one. A fascinating combination of objects, artifacts — Albert Einstein’s chocolate cup from childhood! — and documents bring the history of Jews and chocolate to life.
Prinz, who is the author of the book “On the Chocolate Trail: A Delicious Adventure Connecting Jews, Religions, History, Travel, Rituals and Recipes to the Magic of Cacao” (Jewish Lights Publishing, 2017), offers more information about the exhibit here.
The gallery is open Sunday through Thursday, 10 a.m.–4:30 p.m. Closed to the public on Jewish holidays. Admission is free.
Liza Schoenfein is food editor of the Forward. Contact her at email@example.com or on Twitter, @LifeDeathDinner