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About ShtetlKettle

For the past 2 years, I’ve been blogging about fermentation on behalf of my small Detroit-based pickle business, Suddenly Sauer.

While food, in general, and fermentation, specifically, are central passions in my life, I felt that more theoretical fermentations (read: thoughts) weren’t as communicable in that space.  Thus, I’ve created ShtetlKettle.

In this space I want to think about community and individual identity.  My point of entry is Detroit Jewish identity, but I’m in no way limited to any one perspective.  I see some of the most poignant inquiries developing out of the borders between identities, and I hope to explore my identity, both personal and communal, with the boundaries (real and imaginary) that we create. 

While I plan to post on a weekly basis, I also want this space to be open to any/all those who happen to share in these (rather specific) areas of interest.  Guest posts and comments welcome!

I look forward to growing with you!




Blair Nosan

I wrote this the last day I was in Detroit. I don’t know why it surfaced in my thoughts this morning, but there it was. and how here it is.

What happened here?

We built walls. We believed the ones who said they want to harm you. We believed in a they and we believed that us was somehow more alike than them.Mortgage lenders got rich quick. Humans were inhuman. People watched as their streets evacuated and color lines were crossed. Majorities become minorities, minorities majorities. All afraid and all confused.

Fortunes were lost and fortunes were made. Hearts broken, homes burnt, highways expanded, trolleys sold to Mexico, and tracks cemented.

Still the flames and the smoke spiraled upward, still the people looked on, aghast, wondering how things had gotten this out of hand. Wondering who could stop it. Thinking the answer outside themselves.

Stars of David adorning buildings remained, crosses came to keep them company, the people themselves separated by mile roads—no longer bricks and drywall.

Distance made us stranger and stranger to one another. Distance made us unkind. All of this in the narrow places, De troit, the straights, Mitzrayim.

What call will we follow? Do we have to leave in order to be redeemed? Or is there a Moshe Rebeynu in each of us—who sees the injustice and calls it what it is. Who among us would have the strength to leave our homes and enter exile, for the hope of—for the promise of—peace. Fellow traveler, you are weary. Rest here one night, in this narrow place, and discover what strength it will uncover in you while you dream.