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When did eating ears, pockets, hair & rope become kosher?

hamantaschen-miniThe Jewish holiday of Purim has a few odd food traditions, such as the religious custom to get drunk, and the common ritual of eating foods associated with the Purim villain Haman.

The most infamous of these foods would be the triangular filled cookies called hamantaschen. The word is Yiddish, meaning “Haman’s pockets.” In the Sefardic tradition, a similar ear-shaped fried cookie is called Orejas Haman, meaning “Haman’s Ears.” As we travel the world, this cookie takes on different names:

hamantaschen1Austria: Heizenblauzen
Germany: Hamman-Muetzan
Greece: Diples
Holland: Hamansoren
Israel: Oznei Haman
Italy: Orecchie de Aman
North Africa: Hojuelos de Haman
Switzerland & French-Lorraine: Schunzuchen
Turkey: Shamleya

Western Europeans and Scandinavians have an entirely different cookie, called Lebkuchen Hamohns. These are gingerbread figures made to look like Haman and his wife Zeresh.

Purim foods don’t end with just cookies. Kaveyos di Haman, meaning “Haman’s hair,” is a noodle dish tossed with a lemon sauce. And Keylitsh is an oversized challah made to represent the ropes that killed Haman.

hamantaschen-miniThe above info was gathered yesterday at a great ‘Lunch and Learn’ led by Jewish Community Federation’s Senior Education Planner Rabbi Rebecca Joseph on the topic, “A Look at the Megillah & Purim Food Traditions.”

As for other Purim events in San Francisco, check out:

  • Purim Unmasked: An Off-Street Festival, Sunday, March 8, featuring face painting, henna art, hamantaschen baking and a costume contest.
  • Happy Purim Hour, Tuesday, March 10, featuring a Megilah reading and Purim party.
  • The Purim Follies, Saturday, March 14, featuring a free trade shuk and a hilarious variety show.
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