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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

This CBC radio interview was recently shared with me.

these were some highlights:

* Learn before you teach

* Much of voluntourism is colonially motivated: wanting to leave tangible/visible legacies behind.

* Just because you come from privilege, money, and are educated, doesn’t mean you should be the educatOR

And these were some questions: where is the balance between community investment and self education… The example of the central american tourism company that had a building project but only 2 staff people, and really felt they needed 6 volunteer helpers to make the project happen was particularly interesting.  They made a point of saying that the work was low-skill and thus really easy to teach volunteers– but thinking about the money the volunteers (or their org) puts into their trip– their educational experience– was where my mind went… They didn’t bring this up, but what would it look like if that money went to the organization so that they could hire local labor instead of needing to rely on free outside labor? Think about how much of our volunteer infrastructure in Detroit is maintained with outside labor– what would it look like if the Greening of Detroit set aside a portion of their raised funds for gardeners who applied for micro-grants for paying neighborhood farmers!?! i can already dream 1,000 responses for why that wouldn’t happen, but its an interesting thought all the same.   Are there volunteer projects that do a better job of capitalizing on the particular skills of outsiders- rather than capitalizing on the fact that they’re free and unskilled?   And this highlights another area of tension in any “program”: is the focus to empower community members or to educate outsiders? can you do both? is one inevitably more appropriate than the other?