When Maya Jankelowitz and her husband Dean opened Jack’s Wife Freda in New York City in 2012, they mined their respective Israeli and South African upbringings for family recipes and traditional spices. The result was trendy downtown dining with a home-cooked vibe and a dash of nostalgia (the restaurant is named after Dean's grandparents). The pair now run two restaurants, identically named, and just published the Jack's Wife Freda cookbook, which features recipes like peri peri chicken, malva pudding, and Maya’s mother’s chicken schnitzel. Maya joins us to talk about offering a Sephardic take on Jewish comfort food in a city dominated by bagels and lox, serving green shakshuka to Israeli tourists in Manhattan, and the first meal she eats when she goes back to Israel.
We also talk to scholar Barry Holtz, whose latest book is Rabbi Akiva: The Sage of the Talmud. He shares some of his favorite stories about the preeminent teacher, whom he describes the model of Jewish intellectual creativity, and explains why we should approach the Talmud as a “multivolume, postmodern experimental novel.”
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