Upcoming Events for Your Inner Foodie

Abington-born celebrity kosher chef Jamie Geller

Are you a Jewish foodie or just love to cook?

The first opportunity is NextGen’s popular Cook For a Friend program. On March 15 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., 20 members of NextGen — Jewish Federation’s affinity for ages 21 to 45 — will take over the kitchen at Temple Beth Zion-Beth Israel in Rittenhouse Square to cook nourishing kosher meals for home-bound older adults. The meals, prepared lovingly from scratch, are packaged and picked up by KleinLife, which then distributes them to individuals in the greater Philadelphia area unable to prepare food for themselves due to illness or poverty.

The program, which always sells out quickly, requires no expert cooking skills but provides a fun, creative opportunity to perform a mitzvah. “People tend to enjoy being hands on and feeling like they’re really part of something,” explained Melanie Gerchberg, NextGen Director. “The fact that they’re cooking with love and providing for people within the community gives them the chance to see the impact and have a good time while doing it.”

NextGen’s treasured Cook for a Friend program

Cook For a Friend can be a great social way for a budding chef or enthusiastic foodie to explore new recipes and ingredients. Volunteers can contribute in any way they want, either by planning the menu, chopping vegetables or even just by lending a hand in the cleanup process. As Gerchberg explained, these kinds of altruistic events are increasingly appealing for young people interested in active Jewish philanthropy.

“Cook For a Friend allows for NextGen constituents to really be involved in a way they want to be,” she said. “They want to be much more present than just by writing a check.”

Want to learn more and sign up? Contact Gerchberg at [email protected].

As part of our Israel70 year, we’re cooking up a can’t-miss culinary event on March 18 featuring Abington-born celebrity kosher chef Jamie Gellar, creator of Joy of Kosher. From 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at Old York Road Temple-Beth Am in Abington, Geller will be sharing her story and some of her popular Passover recipes. Best of all, funds raised at the event will go toward Old York Road Kehillah’s ambulance campaign for American Friends of Magen David Adom.

An eminent kosher chef representing the Orthodox community and its love of food and family through her bestselling cookbooks and appearances on The Today Show, Geller is the founder and CEO of the Kosher Media Network and in 2010 launched the Joy of Kosher with Jamie Geller.

Interestingly enough, Geller had a secular Jewish upbringing and hardly ever set foot in the kitchen while growing up. Her initial introduction to kosher cuisine started at New York University, where she began to live a more religious lifestyle. She soon married and her husband, who had experience working in kitchens, taught her to cook basic dishes when she came home from her job as a TV producer and marketing executive at HBO.

Most kosher cookbooks are designed for chefs with plenty of time on their hands, and Geller soon realized there was a need for easier recipes for the busy kosher family.

With her husband’s encouragement, Geller published her first cookbook in 2007: Quick & Kosher: Recipes From The Bride Who Knew Nothing. International success soon followed. Don’t miss this special event chance to support the Old York Road Kehillah and pick up some ideas for your Passover table!


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