Volunteering and Jewish food – the tastiest possible recipe

Leonie Lewis, JVN Director

It’s hard to say what I love more than volunteering, but Jewish food comes in a *very* close second!  And today, Jewish food was really on my mind – we’ve been starting to clean out chametz, eating a lot of pasta and doing our Pesach shopping. 

So this afternoon, as my chicken soup (made with a boiling fowl, neck and pipiks obviously!) bubbles away on the stove ready for Friday night dinner and my family who are visiting this Shabbat; my thoughts turned to how the cooking and sharing of food is such a critical part of Jewish life.  Not just the eating – although that’s great – but something which binds the community together from the way Jews cook according to the laws of Kashrut (you call it cholent, we call it dafina, they call it hamin, let’s just eat it anyway!) to the fact that we are commanded to take people into our homes to partake of the Seder meal.

It reminded me about an amazing initiative in Rochester, New York that I read about in an article earlier this week .  The Beyond Chicken Soup Culinary Center provides wonderful kitchen facilities for the elderly residents of the Jewish Home of Rochester to be able to cook meals for themselves, alongside their family and volunteers. And the whole endeavour was powered by the 600+ volunteers of the Jewish Home Auxillary with funds from the sale of the famous cookbook Beyond Chicken Soup. Truly amazing – check out the video to see for yourself. 

The Jewish vegetable - aubergine

Closer to home, we have our own Jewish volunteer-led food initiative – Gefiltefest. Taking place on Sunday May 20th at Ivy House in Hampstead in conjunction with the London Jewish Cultural Centre and the JCC and they need foody loving volunteers to make the day get really cooking . So if you fancy combining two of your favourite loves – doing something great for others and Jewish food – then check out the volunteering opportunities available. Very tasty indeed.



Categories: Leonie's View, Volunteering


Hi, I'm Mike, JVN's Youth Co-ordinator and blogger. I'll be blogging about all sorts of issues affecting the volunteering community, with a particular focus on how recent developments might affect the UK Jewish community's volunteers. I'm always interested to read the comments you make. If you have something you want to see in the JVN blog, e-mail me at mike@jvn.org.uk and I'll be happy to talk. And if you're inspired by any of my blogs to volunteer, log on to www.jvn.org.uk and register to find your perfect volunteering opportunity.


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