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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!



הגר פאַרלאָזט אַברהמס הויז

Blair Nosan

My second stab at the translation of this amazing yiddish poem by Itzik Manger


Blueness breaks in the window

the rooster had three times crowed

outside a horse is whinnying

on a distant journey, prepared to go.


Hagar stands in tears

her child at her side

and her eyes stumble longingly over

the walls where she’ll no longer abide.


The balagala and Avrom outside

negotiate the passage, the toll,

“add a sixth, Reb Avrom,

there’s two of them, you know.”


And the horse scraping its horseshoed hooves,

as if, “an end!” it yearend to say

“oh I’ll show you Jews

how Balak was taught the way.”


“Cry not, my little Ishamel,

our fate, my dear, you heard,”

oh how the patriarchs behave

behind their long frum beards.

She sees herself a refugee

forgotten in a distant port of call

and catching her sobs she cries

into her dampening Turkish shawl.


“Enough already! Hagar,

you hear what I say, or no?”

and Hagar clutched her pekl

and released herself to the wagon, in woe.


And there he stood in his silk yarmulke

Reb Avrom, the frum, the righteous Yid

“how did you feel then, mama dearest?

bitter and depressed, I did.”

The whip cracked, “Leysosati!”

and from her tear soaked eyes

shuffled slowly away the shtetl houses

distant and distanter under the skies.


And Hagar took for witness

the heavens and the earth

oh how the patriarchs behave

behind their long frum beards.