Jewish American Heritage Month Kick-off

Event information

In celebration of Jewish American Heritage Month!
The Delectable History of the Jewish Deli

Lecture presented by Ted Merwin, Ph.D.
About the lecture:
In New York, Chicago, L.A. and Miami Beach, the delicatessen was the lifeblood and the linchpin of the Jewish community. The "soul food" and atmosphere it dished up became a quintessential part of American culture for Jews and non-Jews alike. But as Jews moved into the suburban middle class, the deli lost its bite, giving way to other ethnic restaurants and cuisines. Can the deli be resurrected? Ted Merwin will show how the deli, which originated in Germany and Eastern Europe, developed in this country into a neighborhood institution on par with the synagogue. He will also discuss how the deli became an icon of both television shows and films about the Jewish experience, ranging from When Harry Met Sally to "The Larry David Sandwich" episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm.

About the speaker:
Ted Merwin, Ph.D. is Associate Professor of Religion & Judaic Studies, Director of the Milton B. Asbell Center for Jewish Life, Dickinson College. He is the author of In Their Own Image: New York Jews in Jazz Age Popular Culture (Rutgers University Press, 2006), as well as Pastrami on Rye: An Overstuffed History of the Jewish Delicatessen (forthcoming from NYU Press). In addition to numerous scholarly articles on American Jewish culture, Ted has published journalistic articles in the New York Times, Washington Post, International Herald Tribune, Forward, and many other newspapers and magazines across the English-speaking world. For the last thirteen years, Ted has penned a weekly theater column for the New York Jewish Week, the largest-circulation Jewish newspaper in the nation.