On the Chocolate Trail

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Contact Debbie Prinz


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Press Packet On the Chocolate Trail

Lecture and Scholar-in-Residence Topics (download):

*General Audiences 

*Jewish Audiences

Join Debbie on the chocolate trail for a gastronomic adventure. The next time you pick up a piece of chocolate, consider that you are partaking in an age-old passion for religion and food. Explore the surprising chocolate narratives and rituals of Pre-Columbians, Jews, Catholics, Protestants and Quakers. On the Chocolate Trail uniquely melds a popularity of chocolate with a fascination about religions. Those interested in the connectedness among peoples will crave this unique approach. Delight your mind and your taste buds as this book unscrambles the mysteries of religions and chocolate along a trail of economic development spanning cultures, countries, centuries, continents, and convictions.

Bio (download pdf)

Deborah Prinz’s book, On the Chocolate Trail: A Delicious Adventure Connecting Jews, Religions, History, Travel, Rituals and Recipes to the Magic of Cacao (Second Edition, 2017) is being used in adult study, classroom settings, book clubs and chocolate tastings. She also co-curated the “Semi[te] Sweet: On Jews and Chocolate” exhibit for the Bernard Museum of Temple Emanu-el, New York City, now available to travel to your communityOn the Chocolate Trail provided the foundation for the show featuring historical and contemporary art, artifacts and memorabilia portraying stories of Jews and chocolate.

Rabbi Prinz lectures about chocolate and religion around the world. The book is being used in adult study, classroom settings, book clubs and chocolate tastings. Prinz blogs at onthechocolatetrail.org, the Huffington Post, the Forward and ReformJudaism.org. She was awarded a Starkoff Fellowship and a Director’s Fellowship from the American Jewish Archives as well as a Gilder Lehrman Fellowship from the Rockefeller Library to pursue this research. This project stirs age-old passions for chocolate and religion using information gathered from travel in several countries, including Belgium, Canada, England, France, Israel, Italy, Mexico, Spain, Switzerland and the United States. It spans several cultures, countries, centuries, and convictions, exploring how faith traditions share consumption, ritual and business interests in chocolate.

Rabbi Prinz has held a number of leadership positions in the national and regional Reform movement, having recently served the Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR) as Director of Program and Member Services and the Director of the Joint Commission on Rabbinic Mentoring. She currently mentors through the Mayerson program at the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion (HUC-JIR). She was also a Senior Fellow at HUC-JIR’s Center for the Study of Ethics and Contemporary Moral Problems (2015-2016). She has consulted for HUC-JIR, the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ), and other organizations. She was honored to conduct the worship services at regional and national biennials of the URJ. Elected by her colleagues, Rabbi Prinz held each office of the Board of the Pacific Association of Reform Rabbis and assumed its presidency in 2005.

The Rabbi Emerita of Temple Adat Shalom, San Diego County, California, she held the position of Senior Rabbi for almost twenty years. Prior to that she was, for seven years, the Rabbi of a synagogue in Bergen County, New Jersey, and also the Assistant Rabbi of Central Synagogue in Manhattan. She has delivered many talks to community organizations.

During her almost thirty years in congregational work, Rabbi Prinz contributed to the local Jewish community as well. She held all offices of the Executive Committee, including President, of the San Diego Rabbinical Association. In her position as a member of the Steering Committee of the United Jewish Federation’s Task Force on Jewish Continuity and Co-Chair of the Interfaith Committee, she was instrumental in bringing the Pathways program (outreach to interfaith children and families) to San Diego. In 1991, she was named “Woman of the Year” by Brandeis University National Women’s Committee. Together with other community leaders, she successfully worked to change the calendar of the Poway Unified School District to avoid the conflict of the first day of school falling on Rosh Hashanah. Along with an Episcopal colleague in Teaneck, she developed an interfaith dialogue program which included an interfaith tour to Israel. Temple Adat Shalom, under her leadership, participated in a dialogue with the Lutheran Church of the Incarnation of Poway and with Chabad of Rancho Bernardo. She has led many trips to Israel.

The author of several articles, she has published in scholarly, professional and popular journals such as the CCAR Journal, the Hebrew Union College Annual, Reform Judaism Magazine, and the CCAR Yearbook. Articles and blogs about and interviews of Rabbi Prinz have appeared in the national and local media.

Rabbi Prinz is married to Rabbi Mark Hurvitz and is the proud mother of Avigail & Sarah and Noam & Rachel. She is also the amazed grandmother of Amiel, Pele, Ziv, and Lior.

• Deborah R. Prinz’s Amazon Author Page.

Upcoming Schedule

August 2020

Stories of Jewish Resilience Through Chocolate. August 20th, 2020, 6:45 pm. Zoom. .

Chocolate: Resilience of Jews. August 23rd, 2020, 4:00 pm. Zoom. .

March 2021

Jews on the Chocolate Trail. March 18th, 2021, 6:00 pm. Albany, NY.

April 2021

Jews on the Chocolate Trail. April 11th, 2021. Toronto.

Audiences Say…

As I predicted, the afternoon was entertaining, educational and delicious.

Thanks for such a wonderful weekend with you as our scholar-in-residence. The weekend was fun, informative, and engaging!

Thank you so very much for an informative, entertaining and delicious evening. It’s wonderful … That we all benefit from your choco-dar talent!

The event was the most successful public event I have had in my time at the Gomez Mill House. Everyone I spoke with enjoyed your presentation and the energy following the program.

I’ve heard nothing but rave reviews about our program yesterday. Thank you for lending your expertise, creativity and charm to our event.

It was a delight to have you with us — your presentation is excellent and your research is remarkable. Moreover, I appreciate the kind interaction with my members, and how they responded to your warmth. I am sure they will think differently about every bite of chocolate from now on.

Thank you so much for the wonderful presentation. The participants clearly enjoyed sharing their own stories, hearing your insights and learning about all of the Jewish connections as well as the cultural and religious aspects of chocolate. You are a warm and engaging speaker.

Thank you for your teaching last night. It was delightful, informative, and fun, and we’ve already received some excellent feedback.

You are such a terrific speaker. So comfortable and conversational. It was a treat to listen to you. Everyone had a great time.

Thank you very much for presenting a superb lecture at Beth Tzedec. I am hearing many wonderful comments from the audience, who truly enjoyed your excellent presentation.

Our students are still talking about your presentation to them! I don’t think they’ll ever look at a candy bar wrapper and not ask the question, “What’s Jewish about this candy bar?” Thanks for helping them learn and ask important questions!

Thank you for taking us on the Chocolate Trail yesterday and enriching us with your stories and passion for Chocolate. The program was a huge success. You connected so well with our religious School students too. You shared with us a special Rabbinic teaching, may the words of the Torah be sweet. Together we tasted the Torah of our wonderful culture, traditions, Jewish life, and history.

Thank you so much for your wonderful talk at the Skirball Cultural Center last week! We truly enjoyed having you here to share your knowledge and enthusiasm for chocolate with our audience. They were all highly engaged and appreciative of your presentation.

Thank you for a most delectable and delicious talk! You and your topic were truly captivating. I have already started the book and I am finding it fascinating!!! My only concern is the cravings that follow!!! Please know how grateful all of us were for your presence and inspiration. You provided a special evening of learning and noshing for all present.

Thank you so much for being here on Yom Limmud, Everyone loved you… and chocolate!

We had a delicious adventure connecting Jews, religions, history, travel, rituals and recipes to the Magic of Cacao.

You tempted our taste buds and we loved sampling the chocolate treats.

Selected Past Events

Newport Historical Society. May 6th, 2010. Newport, RI.

New York Jewish Genealogical Society, NYC. May 20th, 2012.

NY Public Library – Mid-Manhattan Library. October 18th, 2012. New York, NY.

Skirball Center and Jewish Genealogical Society of Los Angeles. March 12th, 2013. Los Angeles, CA.

Lions of Judah. May 31st, 2013. Jewish Federation of Greater Rochester. Rochester, NY.

West London Synagogue. June 30th, 2013. London, England.

URJ Biennial. December 14th, 2013. San Diego, CA.

Museum of Jewish Heritage. May 11th, 2014. New York City.

Women’s League for Conservative Judaism, National Convention. July 18th, 2014. New Jersey.

Center for Jewish History. October 27th, 2014. New York City.

Women’s Impact Event. November 13th, 2014. Jewish Federation of Greater Portland. Portland, OR.

Scholar-in-Residence. February 13 - 14th, 2015. Congregation Beth Israel. Houston, TX.

Hadassah of Greater Baltimore, Opening Meeting at Temple Oheb Shalom. October 19th, 2015. Baltimore, MD.

Women of Reform Judaism, NE District. October 25th, 2015. Scarsdale Synagogue Temples Tremont & Emanu-El. NY.

Muhlenberg College. November 12 - 13th, 2015. Allentown, PA.

Chocolate Expo, Beginning at 11:00 AM. November 22nd, 2015. The Meadowlands Expo Center. Secaucus, New Jersey.

Scholar-in-Residence. December 3 - 6th, 2015. The Temple Congregation Ohabai Sholom. Nashville, TN.

AACI (Association for Americans and Canadians in Israel). February 21st, 2016. Jerusalem, Israel.

AACI (Association for Americans and Canadians in Israel). February 27th, 2016. Netanya, Israel.

Los Angeles Culinary Historians at LA Country Library. March 12th, 2016. Los Angeles, CA.

Temple Brith Achim. May 13 - 15th, 2016. King Of Prussia, PA.

Chocolate Scholar. September 9 - 10th, 2016. Am Shalom. Glencoe, Illinois.

Colonial Chocolate Trade: What Did Alexander Hamilton Drink?. November 12th, 2016. Northwest Chocolate Festival Pier 91, Smith Cove. Seattle, WA.

Faith Diffuses Chocolate Around the World. January 21st, 2017, 10:30 am. Culinary Historians San Diego
Neil Morgan Auditorium of the San Diego Public Library
330 Park Blvd. San Diego, CA.

Limmud NY. February 17 - 20th, 2017. Princeton, New Jersey.

Jews on the Chocolate Trail. February 26th, 2017, 3:30 pm. Detroit Institute of the Arts. Detroit, Michigan.

Spring Benefit. April 29th, 2017, 6:00 pm. KAM Isaiah Israel. Chicago, IL.

What Did Alexander Hamilton Drink. May 4th, 2017. Newport Historical Society. Newport, Rhode Island.

92 Y Chocolate Fest. May 7th, 2017, 7:00 pm. Lexington Avenue at 91st St.
Buttenwieser Hall. .

Authors Dish About Chocolate. October 6th, 2017, 2:00 pm. Big Chocolate Show
Terminal Warehouse
269 Eleventh Avenue @27th. New York, NY, United States.

Fun on the Chocolate Trail: Discoveries and Surprises. November 12th, 2017. New Jersey Convention and Exposition Center. Edison, New Jersey.

Chocolate Chanukah Chappenings. December 10th, 2017, 11:00 am. 334 Amsterdam Ave. NYC.

On the Chocolate Trail: Israelis Are Meshuga for Chocolate. February 1st, 2018, 7:30 pm. Temple Sinai
425 Roslyn Road. Roslyn Heights, New York.

Harry G. Freedman Society. February 4th, 2018, 10:30 am. Temple Emanu-El
One East 65th Street . New York, NY, United States.

Scholar-in-Residence. February 9 - 11th, 2018. Congregation Beth Tikvah. Columbus, Ohio.

Semi [te] Sweet: On Jews and Chocolate – Through 2.25.2018. February 25th, 2018. Herbert & Eileen Bernard Museum of Judaica - Temple Emanu-El
1 East 65th Street. New York, NY.

Jews on the Chocolate Trail. March 5th, 2018, 12:30 pm. Central Synagogue. NYC.

Jews Love Chocolate. March 12th, 2018, 12:30 pm. Temple Emanu-El
6299 Capri Drive. San Diego.

Chocolate Fest. May 6th, 2018, 7:00 pm. 92 Street Y. NYC.

From Zero to 100: Tasting Cacao Percentages. September 29th, 2018, 12:30 pm. The New Yorker Hotel. .

Jews on the Chocolate Trail. October 11th, 2018. Temple Beth Am. Pinecrest, Florida.

Lunch & Learn: What is the Best Chocolate?. March 11th, 2019, 12:30 pm. Central Synagogue. NYC.

Chocolate Fest 92Y. May 12th, 2019, 7:00 pm. New York.

The Sephardi Chocolate Culture of 18th Century New York & Newport. June 30 - July 2nd, 2019. Society for Crypto-Judaic Studies. Denver.

Exhibit of Semi[te] Sweet: On Jews and Chocolate. October 29th, 2019 - January 31st, 2020. Lawrence Family JCC
San Diego, CA. .

On the Chocolate Trail

On the Chocolate Trail