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Reem Assil (photo copyright Nader Khouri 2019)

Engaging all our senses and triggering childhood memories of family, food is a most profound representation of identity. Recipes passed down from generation to generation tell us something about who we are and where we come from. The tradition of breaking bread with others is not just a ritual of belonging, however, but an opportunity to share ideas and cultures with those of different backgrounds as well.

Based around the concept of the sofra, or Palestinian communal dining table, Sofra Daymeh envisions a shared meal as an opportunity for cultural exchange and challenging debate. Organized by designer and urban planner Daleen Saah, the event will accommodate 60 guests seated at four tables. One participant at each table will serve as a facilitator to guide discussion throughout the meal, which will feature Palestinian cuisine prepared by celebrated Palestinian– and Syrian–American chef Reem Assil. More than a culinary celebration, the evening’s conversations will focus on how the dishes being consumed are tied to themes of colonization, appropriation, and resistance. Each guest will receive a zine created by Saah featuring recipes, essays, poems, and resources for Palestinian solidarity.

When: Saturday, September 7, 7pm (tickets: $45–$75)
Where: Navel (1611 S. Hope Street, Downtown, Los Angeles)

More info at

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Matt Stromberg

Matt Stromberg is a freelance visual arts writer based in Los Angeles. In addition to Hyperallergic, he is a frequent contributor to Daily Serving, and Glasstire.

3 replies on “When Communal Dining Transforms Into Cultural Exchange and Debate”

  1. Reem Assil has been ostrasized in Northern California, and her restaurant subject to an ongoing boycott, for her gushing glorification of hate and violence. Her Fruitvale Oakland restaurant features a full size portrait of Rasmea Odeh, a convicted terrorist who murdered 2 young men and injured scores of others when the bomb she placed in a Jerusalem grocery store went off. But who knows? Many thats considered a feature, not a bug, in the circles that she goes in

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