Scanned image of the page. Keyboard directions: use + to zoom in, - to zoom out, arrow keys to pan inside the viewer.

Page Options


Something wrong?

Something wrong with this page? Report problem.

Rights / Permissions

The University of Michigan Library provides access to these materials for educational and research purposes. These materials may be under copyright. If you decide to use any of these materials, you are responsible for making your own legal assessment and securing any necessary permission. If you have questions about the collection, please contact the Bentley Historical Library at bentley.ref@umich.edu

January 17, 2013 - Image 33

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2013-01-17

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

arts & entertainment

Calling All Chocoholics

Rabbi unravels the history of chocolate.


Suzanne Chessler

"Bravo! ... A great read."

Contributing Writer

—JOAN NATHAN, award-winning cookbook author


eborah Prinz, thoroughly enjoy-
ing Hebrew school, decided to
attend Hebrew Union College-
Jewish Institute of Religion. Her intention
was to get a master's degree in Jewish
Once in college during the 1970s, she
learned that women were beginning to be
ordained as rabbis. That information set
a different direction for her career stud-
ies, and she became the longtime spiritual
leader of a California congregation.
Prinz moved on to be director of pro-
gram and member services for the Central
Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR) in
New York, where she also is director of the
Joint Commission on Rabbinic Mentoring.
Before accepting her current responsi-
bilities, which place her in contact with the
Michigan religious community, Prinz went
on vacation with her husband, Rabbi Mark
Hurvitz. They wanted to drive through
Europe and stopped in Paris.
In an inviting chocolate shop, they came
upon company literature describing how
Jews brought chocolate to France. That
information set a fresh direction for their
travels and a professional project.
"I told my husband this needed to be
explored, and that's what we did:' the rabbi
recalled during a recent phone conversa-
tion from her home. "I have been a sweets
lover forever, and chocolate was in the
mix. It became the focus of the trip:'
What she learned through her journey
and additional research is presented in
her first book, On the Chocolate Trail:
A Delicious Adventure Connecting Jews,
Religions, History, Travel, Rituals and
Recipes to the Magic of Cacao (Jewish
Lights Publishing; $18.99).
"I began to see that there was so much
material, and as an educator, I love to
share material that I discover:' Prinz
explains. "I also could see that the connec-
tions would be motivating for people and
could bring surprising insights:'
Prinz's book describes the history of the
use of chocolate across various countries,
its appearance in religious ritual and the
investment of Jewish entrepreneurs.
She recounts, for example, the history of
Bartons Bonbonniere, a family enterprise
that moved from Austria to America and
had to be re-established. While advancing
from homemade chocolates sold in push-


A Delicious Adventure
Connecting Jews, Religions,
History, Travel, Rituals and
Recipes to the Magic of Cacao

Rabbi Deborah Prinz

carts, the family helped refugees fleeing
the ravages of the Nazis.
Bartons, which offered a kosher product
line and had a strong presence in Jewish
philanthropy, was sold in 1978. The manu-
facturing enterprise has since been owned
by three companies.
There are recipes throughout the chap-
ters, a list of chocolate makers using ethi-
cal practices and references to museums
where the confection can be explored in
various ways.
"I hope readers will get a lot of enjoy-
ment as they learn:' says Prinz, 62, who
lived in California before her current job
brought her to the East Coast in 2007.
"I hope they'll enjoy the stories and be
inspired to think about how they purchase
and eat chocolate:'
The first part of the book follows the
Jewish chocolate trail through the centers
of the Spanish Inquisition, American colo-
nial initiatives, immigration waves into the
United States and business development
among Israelis.
One section delves into the historic link
between Chanukah gelt and chocolate,
going on to describe family traditions con-
nected to the holiday.
"My mother used to put bags of
chocolate Chanukah gelt into large plastic
dreidels," the rabbi writes. "Some people
scatter gold Chanukah gelt on the holiday
The second part of the book calls atten-
tion to the use of chocolate by other cul-

The author explores the religious
connections in the early chocolate
trade and shows how Jewish and other

religious values infuse chocolate today.

tures going back to pre-Columbian times.
The author explains how faith helped dif-
fuse chocolate around the world.
To do her research, Prinz was awarded
a Starkoff Fellowship and a Director's
Fellowship from the American Jewish
Archives as well as a Gilder Lehrman
Fellowship from the Rockefeller Library.
"Because rabbis are teachers and this
is a teaching document, I have made
lesson plans and supplementary materi-
als available through my website (www.
jews-onthechocolatetrail. org )," Prinz
says. "I see that as a total extension of
my work as a rabbi:'
Although Prinz's husband is the main
cook in the family, she has made and
tested included recipes. She prepared
the peanut butter gelt cookies for her
family's recent Chanukah celebration.
While chocolate matzah brickle is her
favorite selection, there is a salad with
chocolate as well as chocolate drinks in
addition to the confections.
The recipe for Israeli chocolate spread
uses raw eggs, and readers would need
to decide whether that would be a
healthy choice for their families.
"I think chocolate is a miraculous
product," Prinz says. "While all food is,
in certain respects chocolate is special in
the way it grows in the rainforest.
"There's a surprise when people open

one of the chocolate pods that grow off
the sides of trees. What's inside doesn't
look at all like chocolate, but somebody
figured out how to turn that into a
brown substance people could drink.
"Ultimately, people figured out how to
turn the substance into powder for pas-
tries and candies:'
Prinz hopes this book will not be her
only one and is mulling over a topic for
a second.
The rabbi's earlier writing has been
published in scholarly, professional and
popular periodicals, such as the CCAR
Journal, Hebrew Union College Annual,
American Rabbi and Reform Judaism
Prinz, a mother and grandmother, is
proud that her daughter-in-law is on her
way to becoming a rabbi.
"There's often a veil of tears approach-
ing Jewish history:' Prinz says. "I hope
my book gives a more positive experi-
ence that is sustaining — and nourish-
ing — in a different way:'


Fruit should be peeled with membrane
1 grapefruit
2 navel oranges
3 blood oranges
4 clementines
pomegranate syrup (optional)
several Tbsps. cocoa nibs
pistachios, roasted and chopped

Cut the fruit into bite-size pieces, and
place in a large serving bowl. Add the
pomegranate syrup to taste. When
ready to serve, sprinkle the cocoa nibs
and roasted pistachios over the fruit.
Makes 10-15 servings.

From On the Chocolate Trail: A
Delicious Adventure Connecting Jews,
Religions, History, Travel, Rituals and
Recipes to the Magic of Cacao (Jewish
Lights Publishing; $18.99)

Post your own personal stories of
Jews, religion and chocolate on the
Chocolate Chronicles blog. Go to
www.jews-onthechocolatetrail.org .

January 17 • 2013


Back to Top

© 2021 Regents of the University of Michigan