20 March 2009

Texas: Kosher Chili Cookoff, March 22

News of a kosher chili cook-off in Dallas is an opportunity to provide a tip on an often overlooked genealogical resource: synagogue newsletters.

Where else but Texas do you find the best kosher chili?

The 16th Tiferet Israel Kosher Chili Cook-off takes place from 11am-4pm, Sunday, March 22, at the Jewish Community Center in Dallas. The annual family event attracts some 3,000 local and national visitors. The event even has its own website and a DVD.

More than 35 local teams will compete for the title. Judges include local and national people, including a first-place National Chili contest winner.

Food traditions are an important part of our lives and, in Texas, chili is very important! The congregation was founded in 1890.
Tiferet Israel Congregation is a unique, synagogue enriched by history, culture, and tradition, which, this year will also be celebrating it's centennial celebration. It is often recognized as the small synagogue with the Big as Texas heart. Known throughout the country for this annual event , it has been cited in many national newspapers, including Jewish Living, and Hadassah magazines.
The DVD of the event (see the website) demonstrates, according to a spokesperson, "how Jews in Texas maintain their Jewish identities in a kosher setting, while whether one keeps kosher or not, serves to unify the Reform, Conservative, Orthodox and unaffiliated in our community while also attracting non-Jews, all who enjoy good, wholesome, family fun and camaraderie - Texas style!"

Other events include children's entertainment, vendors, a silent auction and live music at the Dallas Jewish Community Center. Proceeds go to local institutions and charities.

If chili isn't your thing, hot dogs and felafel with be available!

And file this away in your holiday recipes: Hamantaschen with chocolate caramel pecan filling is on page 3 of the congregation's online HaKol newsletter. This sounds so much better than poppyseed or lekvar!

An often overlooked source of genealogical information, synagogue newsletters contain lists of family events, births, bar/bat mitzvah, marriage and deaths. If you know your family lived in a certain town or belonged to a certain congregation, it may be very useful to contact those congregations for more information.

Case in point: I knew that New York cousins had spent some time in West Virginia a very long time ago. I contacted the rabbi of the only congregation in town and received quite interesting information about the wife, who won most of the cooking awards at the County Fair.

It is always worth a try!

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