Relationship: Child of im/migrant
My grandmother's homemade ka'ak
My grandmother's homemade ka'ak

I come from a rather large Sephardic Jewish community in Brooklyn, New York, where most of us in the community share the same traditions and history. My grandmother was born in Syria and escaped to Israel when she was sixteen with my grandfather, where she then had three children, who then immigrated to the United States in 1972. A large part of Jewish identity lies in food—keeping kosher, Friday night family meals, and Rabbinic mandated fasting are integral parts of the religion. I’ve grown up eating Syrian foods that my grandmother brought with her to America. Every week, she makes ka’ak, or Syrian breadsticks, from scratch. Ka’ak is a circular shaped hard cookie that is typically covered in aniseed or sesame seeds. It is a staple at every breakfast or snack that we have, which is also true for the rest of the community. Ka’ak is made with butter, sugar, eggs, yeast, and flour, which are formed into rings and brushed with an egg wash and sprinkled with seeds. The baking of these breadsticks are very tedious, and require two different oven temperatures to get them to the perfect crunchiness, but it’s all worth it when you walk into the kitchen and the sweet smell of freshly baked ka’ak hits you. Food is important to not only me, but to my entire community, because the continual making of these foods help keep us connected to our roots and are a constant reminder of our history. 

Place(s): Syria,Israel
Year: 1972

– Gina

Relationship:  Child of im/migrant Child of im/migrant