Shalom Life | April 18, 2014

Creating a Winning Recipe in Beit Shemesh

Cooking Class Adds Different Spice to Israel-Diaspora Relationship

By: Joshua Berkman

Published: February 8th, 2012 in News » World

Creating a Winning Recipe in Beit Shemesh
If Jews can agree on anything, it is the importance of delicious food and that, in the kitchen, nothing else matters. So it is fitting that Beit Shemesh—the site of widely-reported religious tensions last month—played host this week to some 150 participants of the Jewish Federation of North America’s (JFNA) ‘Heart-to-Heart’ Mission, as they learned the art of cooking kube and stuffed peppers from Yemeni, Moroccan and Kurdish residents of the town.

‘Heart to Heart’ is one of the most prominent JFNA donor missions to Israel. The women’s mission comes to Israel each year as a show of solidarity among North American and Israeli women and to deepen personal connections. The members of the delegation are Jewish business women, professionals and community leaders who participate in local Jewish and Zionist activities. During their visits on the mission, they meet with Israeli counterparts in business, social activism and community services as well as female leaders of the IDF.

The Israeli cooks with whom they paired in Beit Shemesh are part of a women’s empowerment project—run by the Jewish Agency for Israel as part of its Partnership2Gether initiative (formerly Partnership2000), which has paired Beit Shemesh and the Mateh Yehdua region with the Jewish communities of Washington D.C. and South Africa. The women’s empowerment project has brought together participants with Persian, Russian, Yemenite, Kurdish, Iraqi and Moroccan backgrounds to receive professional mentoring and instruction in operating catering business that serve the tourism industry.

In addition to receiving business instruction in Israel, program participants also travel abroad and conduct ethnic cooking workshops in Washington D.C and South Africa.

Partnership2Gether (P2G) has—over the past 15 years—become the Jewish Agency for Israel’s most successful and effective model for building direct, enduring, and meaningful partnerships between specific Jewish communities worldwide and sister communities in Israel. It is now the central platform for the promotion, empowerment, and development of deep connections among Jewish communities. P2G connects some 550 communities in Israel and 45 regions in Israel to the Jewish Diaspora. The director of the Jewish Agency’s partnership unit, Andrea Arbel, said that the meeting between the American women and cooks from Beit Shemesh, who have established their own businesses, is a true exhibition of solidarity among Jewish women.

“For generations the Jewish Agency has tackled world Jewry’s most pressing problems,” Arbel said. “Today one of these problems is the fraying of ties that once bound Jews in Israel and the rest of the world. The stories that the ethnic cooks shared with the Heart-to-Heart mission, as they instructed their fellow Jewish women, touched on the deeply personal attachment to cooking that so many Jews share as a reflection of family heritage.

“Creating such a human fabric in the Diaspora-Israel relationship is the best way to put the Jewish peoplehood back together and keep it together—despite whatever ideological, religious, generational and cultural differences could otherwise threaten our unity.”

During its visit to Israel, the Heart-to-Heart mission also visited several vineyards that were set up in the Beit Shemesh-Mateh Yehuda area with the support of Jewish Agency, and it visited Jewish Agency programs that assist youth at risk through the therapeutic use of animals and sports.

Tel Aviv Named 'Best Beach Party Spot on Planet' Tel Aviv Named 'Best Beach Party Spot on Planet' TrendingMeet the Israelis Looking to Arrive on Mars Meet the Israelis Looking to Arrive on Mars TrendingMissouri Mayor 'Agrees' with Kansas Shooter Missouri Mayor 'Agrees' with Kansas Shooter Trending
 

Italian Politician Mocks Primo Levi Holocaust Poem

April 18, 2014 | By Graham Sigurdson
Italian Politician Mocks Primo Levi Holocaust Poem

Beppe Grillo, head of an anti-establishment movement, released the parody on his blog that Jewish activists have labelled an 'obscenity'

Read More

Jeremy Diamond: The Most Harmless Stalker Around

April 18, 2014 | By Jordan Mazza
Jeremy Diamond: The Most Harmless Stalker Around

We talk to the famous personal injury lawyer about advertisements, that photo of him and Rob Ford, and more

Read More

Resocialize Yourself with Facebook’s “Nearby Friends”

April 18, 2014 | By Graham Sigurdson
Resocialize Yourself with Facebook’s “Nearby Friends”

The new service is similar to Tinder, but with potentially less smoochin'

Read More

Jewish Olympians To be Honored at Next Year's Maccabi Games in Berlin

April 18, 2014 | By Graham Sigurdson
Jewish Olympians To be Honored at Next Year's Maccabi Games in Berlin

Jewish sprinters Marty Glickman and Sam Stoller, originally slighted at the 1936 Olympics, will be memorialized

Read More

Breakthrough Jew - Seth Kushner

April 17, 2014 | By Sarah Bauder
Breakthrough Jew - Seth Kushner

Kushner is an award-winning photographer and creator of 'Schmuck', a graphic novel.

Read More

Pro-Russians Handing Out Pamphlets Ordering Jews to 'Register' or Face Deportation

April 17, 2014 | By Daniel Koren
Pro-Russians Handing Out Pamphlets Ordering Jews to 'Register' or Face Deportation

Separatists living in Eastern Ukraine have denied passing official-looking documents

Read More

Seth Rogen Calls Nancy Grace a “F*cking Dumbass” Over Anti-Marijuana Comments

April 17, 2014 | By Ashley Baylen
Seth Rogen Calls Nancy Grace a “F*cking Dumbass” Over Anti-Marijuana Comments

The 'Neighbors' star insulted the HLN host on Twitter after a number of posts with the #PotToBlame hashtag

Read More

Neo-Nazi Clothing Store Opens Next to Chief Rabbi’s Office

April 17, 2014 | By Ashley Baylen
Neo-Nazi Clothing Store Opens Next to Chief Rabbi’s Office

Thor Steinar clothes are on sale in the Viking Thor Shop in Jewish London neighborhood

Read More

More Headlines