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Adventures in Jewish Studies

The Association for Jewish Studies Podcast

Adventures in Jewish Studies is a podcast produced by the Association for Jewish Studies, the largest learned society and professional organization representing Jewish Studies scholars worldwide. Created to fulfill the AJS mission of fostering greater understanding of Jewish Studies scholarship among the wider public, podcast episodes are designed take listeners on exciting journeys while exploring a wide range of topics, from the contemporary to the ancient, in ways that are informative, engaging, and fun. Launched in 2018, the Adventures in Jewish Studies series produces five episodes annually.

Each episode features the voices of AJS members as they share their expertise and research with listeners. Upcoming episodes include the origins of Jews themselves, Jews and art, and the 50th anniversary of Portnoy's Complaint. Funding for the series is provided by an anonymous foundation.

Episode 1: Appetizing: An American New York Jewish Food Tradition

In the inaugural episode of Adventures in Jewish Studies, host Jeremy Shere explores the New York Jewish food tradition of “appetizing” with guests culinary ethnographer Eve Jochnowitz, NYU history professor Hasia Diner, former 3rd generation owner of the appetizing store Russ & Daughters Mark Russ Federman, and Concordia University professor of religions and cultures Norma Joseph.

Appetizing is a distinctly American, distinctly New York, distinctly Jewish, food tradition. Introduced as a counterpart to the meat-selling deli, and carrying fish, dairy, and related foods, appetizing stores have been around since the early 1900s. Appetizing played an important role in the history of Jewish foods and is an integral part of the story of Jewish New Yorkers – how they lived, how they ate, and how they evolved.

Episode Guests


Hasia Diner, PhD

Hasia Diner, PhD, is the Paul and Sylvia Steinberg Professor of American Jewish History at New York University, with a joint appointment in the departments of history and the Skirball Department of Hebrew and Judaic Studies. She is also the Director of the Goldstein Goren Center for American Jewish History. Dr. Diner’s books include Lower East Side Memories: The Jewish Place in America and Hungering for America: Italian, Irish, and Jewish Foodways in the Age of Migration.


Mark Russ Federman

Mark Russ Federman was the third generation of the Russ Family to own and operate Russ & Daughters, the family appetizing store. He ran the store from behind the counter for over three decades; now retired, he considers himself “herring maven emeritus.” When he is not schmoozing across the counter, Mr. Federman writes and lectures about his store, products, and family. He is the author of Russ & Daughters; Reflections and Recipes from the House that Herring Built, and his essays are included in Gastropolis: Food & New York City and Savoring Gotham. Mr. Federman’s daughter and nephew currently own and operate Russ & Daughters.


Eve Jochnowitz, PhD

Eve Jochnowitz, PhD, is a Yiddish instructor at the YIVO Institute and the Workmen’s Circle who has been teaching Yiddish language, culture, literature, foodways and dance for 25 years.  She lectures internationally on food in Jewish tradition, religion, and ritual, as well as food in Yiddish performance and popular culture. She blogs in English and Yiddish at, and co-hosts the Yiddish cooking show Est Gezunterheyt!. She translated, annotated, and adapted for the modern kitchen The Vilna Vegetarian Cookbook in 2015. She holds a PhD in Jewish culinary ethnography from the NYU Department of Performance Studies, and worked as a cook and baker for several years in New York City. Dr. Jochnowitz is the chocolate lady.


Norma Joseph, PhD

Norma Baumel Joseph, PhD, teaches in the Department of Religions and Cultures of Concordia University, Montreal. She developed and supervised the Women and Religion specialization and is an Associate of the Institute for Canadian Jewish Studies. She was the founding co-director and is currently Associate Director of the Azrieli Institute for Israel Studies. She has been the chair of the national Canadian Jewish Archives since the 1990s, and has been a columnist for Canadian Jewish News for the past decade. Dr. Joseph is a specialist in women and Judaism, their historical experience and the legal texts that encompass them, as well as food, identity, and gender. She has edited a collection on gender, food and survival in Judaism for the journal Nashim, and is currently publishing a series of articles on food, identity, and gender, especially locating the ethnic eating of Iraqi Jews.



Jeremy Shere, PhD

Jeremy Shere, PhD, is a podcast producer based in Bloomington, Indiana. Jeremy earned his doctorate in English Literature and Jewish Studies from Indiana University. He is currently the producer of the Frankely Judaic podcast for the Jewish Studies program at the University of Michigan.

Adventures in Jewish Studies Masthead

Executive Producer: Warren Hoffman, PhD

Producer: Jeremy Shere, PhD

Michelle Bennett

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