Matzo Ball Soup

Bubie's famous Matzo Ball soup
Bubie's famous Matzo Ball soup

Originally, matzo ball soup reminded me of the Jewish holiday Passover because that is simply when I got to enjoy it. After diving into my ancestry, matzo ball soup symbolizes the cold migration of my Jewish ancestors and the escape from persecution due to rising anti-semitism in Eastern Europe. In 1918, my great-parents picked up their family by their bootstraps and fled to Ontario, Canada. After interviewing my bubie, she tells me her grandmother was the creator of the passed-down recipe for matzo ball soup because she had converted to Judaism in 1898 after marrying my Jewish great great grandfather, Schulim Braun. My bubie recollects the first freezing winter  when she learned how to make matzo ball soup: Mixing the matzo meal with water, egg, oil, salt and pepper then letting it simmer in a large pot filled with chicken soup to enlarge and absorb the bold chicken flavor. Every Passover my family makes a pilgrimage to Canada to celebrate with my extended family. Matzo ball soup reminds me of the warmth from my family and full puckered kisses from Bubie that make loud smacking sounds. The people serving the soup need to carry each bowl by the rims to avoid scalding their hands. This coming passover drinking the soup will not only remind me of the previous passovers, but of the migration. The moment the bowls hits the table, the symphony clinking of spoons and the sound of slurping history begins. L’dor Vador, from Generation to Generation.

Place(s): Ontario, Canada
Year: 1918

– Jonah Hoffer

Relationship:  Grandchild of im/migrant Grandchild of im/migrant