Historically, Jewish women did not receive a formal education. This stemmed largely from the defined gender roles of the traditional Jews, with men pursuing religious studies and women handling domestic affairs. Because of this, a Jewish girl’s education would come from the matriarch of the home. Her education would focus on domestic matters, including cooking, since that was considered the woman’s domain.
In the last 150 years, however, these circumstances have changed and Jewish women are getting formal education. This leaves less time for domestic education; it still does occur, though it focuses primarily on food preparation, especially for the important religious events. Many Jews follow the laws of kashrut, and these laws are mainly learned in the home.
Food preparation in the Jewish culture is significant because it provides both the opportunity to learn about and to preserve some important aspects of Judaism. All Jewish food is connected, somehow, to the religion , and by learning the rules of preparing such food, the cook is also learning an important part of her culture’s past. One good example of this merging of tradition, religious history and food is matzah, which is symbolic of the bread that did not rise because the Hebrews left ancient Egypt quickly.