PITTSFIELD, NY -- Taste tradition with a cold, sour crunch. The kosher dill pickle has been for the past century synonymous with American Jewish culture, since it arrived in New York from the shtetls of Easteru Europe, and at Chabad of the Berkshires this Sunday, the public is invited to relish the hands-on power of pickle-making.
Brooklyn, N.Y., Rabbi Mendy Margolin's Traveling Kosher Pickle Factory comes to the Pittsfield organization for two workshops. Called "Pickle Uni versity" by the New York Daily News, the teaching series began with Margolin's wife's cousin, Shmuel Marcus, in 2005, after a California pickle maker that Mar cus knew gave him his recipe and suggested he spread it to others.
7 years later, more than 7,000 people have taken the class to feel closer to the spirit of their culture and learn the history of the kosher dietary tradition, Margolin said.
"We look at kosher in a positive light during these presentations," he said. "We talk about kosher pickles, the laws of ko sher. We talk about each ingredient, and each ingredient has a different lesson."
What makes a pickle "kosher" is a matter of some dispute, Margolin said: Some argue that it's the lack of vinegar -- the pickles get their sourness from fermenting in brine -- and others say it's the infusion of garlic.
From his research, Margolin speculates that the designation stems from the use of kosher salt, the large crystals that Jewish law stipulates is necessary to kosherize meat and chicken. continue....