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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!



Shabbos Kavannah

Blair Nosan

I want to share this from Chaim Potok's My Name is Asher Lev (Ok, admittedly, I’m on a bit of a Chaim Potok kick– curse my Jewish upbringing that I’m only reading these books as an adult)


“Someone once asked how it is possible to establish a connection between man and the Master of the Universe.  The answer was that man must take the first step.  In order for there to be a connection between man and the Master of the Universe, there must first be an opening, a passageway, even a passageway as small as the eye of a needle.  But man must make the opening by himself; man must take the beginning step…”


These words come from a Ladover Hasid who is dedicating his life to setting up Yeshivas in Europe after Stalin’s fall, who describes his work as creating openings for Jews who, he says, “cannot make the opening on their side, so we must make it on our side”
So humor me and make the quantum leap from Hasidic Brooklyn in the 60’s to the network of Just Jews we’re a part of in 2012: While we might define Master of the Universe with different language, and our Yeshivas might look more like immersive service learning programs, interfaith networks, jewish farms, service corps, non-profits… there is no doubt in my mind that many of us would say that our work and our travels are about creating openings, passageways; to help others and ourselves to take the first step toward divinity, goodness, god, connection, truth, Truth. and imagine.  if even 5 of us create a passageway the size of a needle, pretty soon it begins to look more like a keyhole, then a window, and eventually, a door. Thanks for being fellows on a awe-some journey.