An assortment of superstitious charms
Photo: hamsa by 1yen / Dan Zelazo; some rights reserved.

Anyone who’s been to a Jewish wedding has witnessed the ritual of the groom stepping on a glass. And most of us have seen hamsahs, the hand-shaped amulets often displayed in people’s homes or worn as jewelry. But how many of us have had a chicken killed on our behalf to ward off bad luck?

Nextbook editor Hadara Graubart’s ancestors came from Spain, via Turkey, and like many Jews who have traversed the globe, they picked up a few traditions along the way. In her family, it’s a short leap from hanging a mezuzah on a doorway to flushing handfuls of salt down the toilet. For this podcast, Hadara spoke with her mother, Jean, about her family’s preoccupation with protective rituals.