Tradition & Innovation at Our Shabbat Table

A SCRUMPTIOUS ARTS & IDEAS SERIES By Ryan Isaac

Celebrate Shabbat this season with the return of the Our Shabbat Table series. Over the next several months, our community will safely gather on four Fridays to enjoy a variety of takes on Shabbat dinner from chefs of diverse backgrounds.

The first program is on Friday, November 12, when Boston-based chef Avi Shemtov brings his reimagining of contemporary Israeli cuisine to the SDCJC. Shemtov will focus on dishes from The Simcha Cookbook, his recently publıshed collection of stories and recipes.

Shemtov tells the story of the global journey of the Israeli people through his cooking. Shemtov owns and runs the Chubby Chickpea, a beloved food truck in Boston, as well as Simcha, a modern Israeli restaurant, and A La Esh, which serves Israeli-inspired Southern barbecue. The chef will be joining the community to sign his book and discuss the dishes that will be served during Shabbat dinner.

“Community and celebration are cornerstones of Judaism. The Shabbat Table series melds tradition and innovation, giving our community the opportunity to engage and connect in a new way with themes we hold dear — celebration of Shabbat, food, and friendship. Israeli and global cuisine enriches our perspective and Shabbat experience. Beteavon!” — said Laurie Greenberg, Board Chair of the SDCJC

On Friday, January 28, 2022, food writer and recipe developer Faith Kramer will discuss embracing the ancient tradition of Shabbat and making it applicable for today’s world. Her forthcoming book, 52 Shabbats: Friday Night Dinner Inspired by a Global Jewish Kitchen, provides recipes for a unique menu every week for one year. Kramer kept younger adults and those seeking less prep work in mind, too, creating recipes that rely on Trader Joe’s products. Most importantly, Kramer focuses on bringing Shabbat into the homes of young Jewish families. This evening will be great for generations to enjoy together.

The third Our Shabbat Table will be presented in the spring; the chef is still to be determined.

On June 1, food writing star Jake Cohen will conclude the series. The Instagram and TikTok star will spend time with our community on a Wednesday night and help prepare us for Shabbat. Cohen’s book, Jew-ish: A Cookbook: Reinvented Recipes from a Modern Mensch, is a New York Times bestseller.

“Welcoming a young food celebrity like Jake into our space is an exciting honor for the community. We look forward to hearing about his Shabbat traditions and how we can mix them into our own,” — said Betzy Lynch, Lawrence Family JCC CEO.

Cohen reinvents Ashkenazi cuisine, drawing inspiration from his husband’s Persian-Iraqi traditions. His modern takes include trademark recipes such as Jake’s Perfect Challah, Roasted Tomato Brisket, Cacio e Pepe Rugelach, and Matzo Tiramisu.

To learn more, visit our website!

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Connecting San Diego to Jewish heritage, identity, experiences, and values to ensure the continuity and vibrancy of the Jewish community.

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