April 9, 2024
Close this search box.
Close this search box.
April 9, 2024
Close this search box.

Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Many Jews enjoy eating different forms of cream. They often eat cream cheese (especially with bagels), sour cream (especially with borscht) and, of course, the ubiquitous, crowding-pleasing ice cream (especially for dessert at a bar/bar mitzvah). But even though many Jews love a frozen treat, is there anything inherently Jewish about ice cream? Is ice cream an important part of Jewish life? What is a more Jewish-sounding last name, Cohen or Cone?

It is reasonable to assume that during the forty years in the desert, the Jewish People would have welcomed a scoop or two. They had the manna every day, which apparently was very satisfying, but if ice cream been invented back then, the manna could have mimicked any flavor of ice cream imaginable. In fact, according to Rashi, manna tasted like whatever food each consumer desired. So, if a Jew desired a banana barge sundae, Neapolitan or anything à la mode, then all that Jew had to do was think of it and let the manna do the rest. As an aside, the French expression “à la mode” literally means “in the fashion” but in the culinary world has come to mean anything served with ice cream. Thus, “à la mode” should only be used in the context of food. It would NOT be appropriate or a good idea to (i) deliver a newspaper, a baby or a eulogy à la mode, (ii) send someone an RSVP or a “cease and desist” letter à la mode or (iii) perform a plastic surgery or military strike à la mode.

Truth be told, ice cream does not always fit in with Jewish cuisine because many Jews enjoy eating fleishig, whether it’s cholent, chicken or cold cuts. So, for kosher-keeping Jews who keep meat and dairy separate, eating milchig ice cream really isn’t conducive to kosher carnivorous consumption. Yes, pareve (non-dairy) ice cream would solve that problem but many people view pareve ice cream as a vastly inferior version of the real thing. In fact, to some people, the difference between dairy and pareve ice cream is as significant as the difference between (i) preseason vs. playoffs, (ii) ping pong vs. tennis or (iii) watching movies at home on an iPad vs. in a Sony IMAX movie theatre.

Ice cream is certainly not the only cream that Jews enjoy eating. For example, for most Jews, bagels and lox are just not the same without the undeniable and irreplaceable cream cheese, the quintessential spread for any self-respecting bagel-eating Jew. This, however, brings us to a really strange cream-related conundrum. For reasons that are less than apparent, scallion cream cheese is uber popular whereas scallion ice cream is virtually non-existent. And you definitely will not find ice cream parlors offering scallions as a topping. Scallion sprinkles do not exist and neither do scallion cones. So why do cream cheese eaters love scallion but ice cream eaters shun it? Unclear, but there are other comparable conundrums in the world of food. For example, why are prune Hamantaschen widely-available while other prune-filled baked goods are few and far between? Discuss.

Another cream that some Jews enjoy is whipped cream. But, the term “whipped” could evoke images of harsh bondage in Egypt, a brutal episode that might not be an ideal image when enjoying some delicious ice cream.

One could argue that ice cream could be more Jewish if the ice cream sundae (the term “sundae” is a twist on the term “Sunday”) was instead referred to as an ice cream “saturdae,” in honor of Shabbat. And yes, in honor of Shabbat HaGadol (the Shabbat before Passover), every ice cream saturdae would feature a few extra scoops. And when Shabbat ends and folks recite Havdalah, they would feast on some special post-Shabbat ice cream called “Heavenly Havdalah Hash.”

On that note, now let’s try to invent some more Jewish-themed ice cream flavors. Here are some examples:

Knishes & Cream

Caramel Kugel

Bubbie’s Butter Pecan

Pistachio Panim

Rainbow Rugelach

Nutella Nudnik

Dulce DeLatke

Herring Happiness

Peanut Butter Bubbe-meise

Coffee Kneidlach

Essen Espresso

Spumoni Schmaltz

Cookie Dough Dreck

Cherry Schmendrick

Falafel & Fudge

Butterscotch Boychik

Peppermint Pickles

Tutti Frutti Teiglach

Marshmallow Machatenesta

Lemon Lokshen

Stracciatella Shakshuka

Rocky Road Rabbi

Rum Raisin Rebbe

And here are some hypothetical names for Jewish ice cream parlors:

Cones & Kibitz

Sprinkles & Spiels

Toppings & Tsuris

Dairy Derech

Frozen Farbissoner

Carvel Kvell

Milchig Mensch

Jewish Gelato

Heimish Haagen Dasz


Soft-Serve Schmooze

Sorbet Shtick

Yenta Yogurt

Final thought: Spies like to snoop, the immoral like to stoop, old flowers like to droop and ice cream eaters like to scoop.

By Jon Kranz


Leave a Comment

Most Popular Articles