Letters | Gefilte Memories and Understanding Animals

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Gefilte Memories

Until she was too ill, my great-grandmother Anna Stolboff, z”l, made the gefilte fish for the family, every year before Pesach (“Fishing for Flavor: A Gefilte Fish Tasting,” April 18). My mom, Ruth Segal, z”l, worked side by side with her on the small counter and sink in our kitchen. But after Grandma Stolboff’s death in 1970, my mom said she could never replicate the gefilte fish, and was totally unhappy with the results.

So Mom tried numerous bottled gefilte fishes, and finally settled on one to two brands, and one to two kinds within the brands, to use as a base. She would then take the gefilte fish out of whatever broth or jell they were in, and recook them in a rich chicken soup that she had made. Only then was Mom satisfied with the results; she did this every year as long as she hosted seder, into her early 80s.

Naomi Segal | Philadelphia

Understanding Animals

I must commend Rabbi Abe Friedman’s d’var “You Are How You Eat” (March 28) re: animal mistreatment in agriculture, and Dara Lovitz’ follow-up comment (April 4) re: the morality of eating animals. Heightened understanding of animals makes it imperative to discuss this issue. Stanley Lieberman’s comment (April 11) incorrectly diminishes animals. Biblically, God did originally direct Adam and Eve to be vegetarian. A cow bellowing in distress as her newborn calf is pulled away from her, or a backyard chicken purring as she listens to music, clearly demonstrates sentience. British researchers documented altruism in fish, noting that several fish helped a sick tankmate rise to the top to eat.

This edited quote from The Outermost House: A Year of Life on the Great Beach of Cape Cod by Henry Beston describes mankind’s misunderstanding of animals: “We patronize them for their incompleteness, for their tragic fate for having taken form so far below ourselves. And therein do we err, for the animal shall not be measured by man. In a world older and more complete than ours, they move finished and complete, gifted with the extension of the senses we have lost or never attained and living by voices we shall never hear.”

Arlene Steinberg | Northeast Philadelphia

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