Tag Archives: jewish

My Breakfast with the Gefilteria Gang (Repost from The Forward)

17 Aug

The following was originally published by The Forward on August 16, 2016.  One of the subjects of the article, Jeffrey Yoskowitz, is the son of Sarasota resident Dr. Arnold Yoskowitz.  Here is the link to the original article.

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By Leah Koenig

w-alpern-yoskowitz-1471293480Last week, I had breakfast with Jeffrey Yoskowitz and Liz Alpern (pictured above: photo credit Lauren Volo) — co-founders of the boutique Jewish food company, Gefilteria, and authors of the forthcoming cookbook “The Gefilte Manifesto: New Recipes for Old World Jewish Foods”.

We gathered for bagels at Hudson Eats, an upscale food court on the southern tip of Manhattan that has become a mothership of artisanal foods, including a kiosk of the wood fired bagel shop, Black Seed Bagels. Inside a glass-filled atrium with Gucci and Burberry shops looming nearby, our surroundings felt oddly opulent. But the bagels were still warm, and the wide tables overlooking the glinting river outside were great for catching up with some old friends.

For the near-decade that I have known, dined with and occasionally collaborated with Jeff and Liz, they have always felt like kindred spirits. Like me, they are people who got into the world of Jewish food not because it was trendy, but because it felt like an authentic expression of who they are, and because they sensed they might have something to add to the conversation.

Starting from scratch, they wrote a manifesto about the importance of reclaiming Jewish cuisine’s time-honored foods and launched their business with a high-quality take on Ashkenazi cuisine’s most infamous appetizer, gefilte fish. Their version is a far-cry from the soulless jarred stuff that most people associate with gefilte fish. It is made in small batches, uses sustainable fish, and is truly delicious, even without a dollop of horseradish.

In the days before Passover in 2012 — their first holiday in business as gefilte fish makers — they spent hours in a cramped synagogue kitchen in New York’s East Village grinding hundreds of pounds of fish while a young Yiddish singer (another friend of mine, Benjy Fox-Rosen), played a CD-release concert in the social hall outside. Quite an auspicious way to start a Jewish food business, no?

“Everything we did for the first three years of our company was new to us. We just had to jump in and learn on the job,” Yoskowitz said. As someone who has made a career as a food writer without formal culinary training or a degree in journalism, I know the feeling. “Luckily, people took the leap of faith with us,” Alpern said. “And soon, we became the gefilte people.”

Early on, they toyed with what it might mean to scale up their artisanal gefilte fish to compete with the big boys of Jewish food production like Manischewitz or Rokeach. But they quickly realized that was not the path they wanted. “The bigger you get, the more divorced you become from the food you’re producing,” Alpern said. “We couldn’t imagine sitting in some board room making decisions far away from the actual food.”

“What we really wanted was to put our recipes directly in people’s hands and give them the confidence to make this food,” Yoskowitz said. So they doubled doubled down on the educational portion of their mission. While continuing to offer their gefilte fish seasonally (around Passover and Rosh Hashanah), they began to travel around the country to teach cooking classes and host pop up events and dinners — including the Passover seder at the James Beard Foundation — that showcase Ashkenazi food at its best.

Their book, out in mid-September, is another major step in that direction. The collection of recipes aims to, as Yoskowitz put it, “recover the flavors of Ashkenazi cooking that got lost as Jews moved from Eastern Europe to America, or even from the Lower East Side to the suburbs and beyond.” So there’s a chapter on soups and dumplings and another on the many varieties of pickles that once brightened up the Ashkenazi table in the dead of winter. There are recipes for creamy noodle kugels with spiced plums, home-cured pastrami and updated classics like kimchi-stuffed cabbage. One of my favorite recipes is a homemade butter flavored with everything-bagel spice — a perfect breakfast spread to pair with a slice of Jewish rye or a bialy (both recipes that can be found in the book.)

Another delightful case in point is the cookbook’s recipe for Roast goose with apples and onions. In the old country, geese were prized within the Jewish household for their ribbons of fat (great for rendering into schmaltz), their feathers for down pillows, and, of course, their meat for roasting. “In the early 20th century, you could find Jews trying to raise geese on the Lower East Side,” Yoskowitz said. Of course, the practice of raising backyard poultry didn’t stick in Manhattan, and geese were replaced by the more industrial-friendly chicken. “The Gefilte Manifesto’s” recipe, then, helps capture a food that once delighted our ancestors, and brings it to the contemporary table.

For those cooks who might be intimidated by the thought of roasting a whole goose or making homemade pickled beets, fret not. Many of the dishes in “The Gefilte Manifesto” fall into the quick-and-easy category. And for those that are more of a project, Yoskowitz and Alpern offer substitutions and workarounds. “We provide shortcuts that don’t dilute the quality or spirit of the dishes,” Yoskowitz said. In other words, you won’t find wonton wrappers subbing in for dough in their kreplach. But if you don’t have a batch of homemade lacto-fermented pickles on hand to make their pickle brine bread, they suggest subbing in the liquid from a store-bought jar.

Talking with my friends over breakfast, I couldn’t help but kvell for them. Their gefilte fish, their events and now their cookbook are changing the conversation of what it means to make and connect with Ashkenazi Jewish food.

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Interfaith Missions to Israel

22 Jun

For the past 4 years, The Jewish Federation of Sarasota-Manatee has invested in relationships with the Christian community through community programming and interfaith missions to Israel. This year, we had the opportunity to travel to Israel with another Federation community from the Heart of New Jersey. This unique trip consisted of clergy and leadership from Jewish, Presbyterian, Reform Church, Baptists and Episcopal communities. To read about this trip, click on this article

Below are quotes from two local leaders who traveled to Israel with the Jewish Federation on the mission highlighted in the article:

“Beyond the blessing of biblical locations and narratives coming alive in sight and context, the interfaith trip was a marvelous opportunity to explore deeper conversations and questions (even tough ones) about Judaism and Christianity’s heritage.  The trip also opened my eyes to the greater reality of everyday life in Israel – what it is and isn’t.  How refreshing to see and hear stories of hope and understanding – appreciating the effort to recognize and respect our common human dignity, regardless of background, and the desire we all have to make a better life for future generations.  I learned a lot and am forever grateful for such an educational and inspirational trip.”     – Rev. Michael Todd, Church of the Holy Spirit, Osprey, Florida

 

 

“Israel faces many complex challenges. So often in American mainstream media and around the world, Israel is painted in a negative light, despite the fact that they are daily confronted by an enemy that seeks to destroy their existence. Traveling there and getting to see and hear first-hand about these challenges and the strides Israel is trying to make, was such an affirmation of this bias in media. Truth matters – whether that’s here in America or there in Israel. We need to see both sides of the story and understand that what Israel is facing is complicated. One of the purposes of this trip was for us to see for ourselves what is taking place, to dispel the misconceptions we so often see.  I believe the trip accomplished this.” – Dixie Cline, Director of Development, CareNet Manasota, Bradenton, Florida

14 Jun

#PrayForOrlando smaller Jun2015

THE JEWISH FEDERATION OF SARASOTA-MANATEE IS OUTRAGED AND SADDENED BY THE TRAGIC AND HORRIFIC MASS SHOOTING IN ORLANDO

The Jewish Federation of Sarasota-Manatee is outraged and saddened by the tragic and horrific mass shooting this weekend at Pulse nightclub in Orlando. This act of terror and hate, inspired by radical Islamic views, has left 49 people confirmed killed and at least 53 more severely injured. We were dismayed to learn of this horrifying attack on the LGBTQ community while Jews around the world were celebrating the holiday of Shavuot, which commemorates the anniversary of the day G-d gave the Torah to the Jewish people at Mount Sinai.

A key tenet of the Torah is that humankind was created in G-d’s image, and therefore we must treat one another with compassion and respect. The Jewish Federation strongly condemns those who target a particular community. We will not stand idly by and let terrorists and those who espouse hatred win.  Instead we as the Sarasota-Manatee Jewish community pledge our devotion and loyalty to all communities who are subject to hatred and discrimination. We will work together to fight back and stand in solidarity together.

The rising tide of extremism and violence, around the world and here in the United States, is profoundly disturbing and reiterates the threat of terrorism to the entire free world. We mourn for those murdered, offer our condolences to their families and pray for a swift recovery of the injured. All Americans were attacked, but the LGBT community was targeted.

We stand in solidarity with the LGBTQ and entire Orlando community.

Howard Tevlowitz
Executive Director

#BUYcottIsrael

17 May

If you understand that Boycotting, Divesting from or Sanctioning Israel (otherwise known as the BDS movement) in fact does nothing to enable a peace process between Israel and the Palestinians, then you may roll your eyes every time you see a call to “Boycott products made in Israel”.  Let’s take it one step further and participate in a BUYcott campaign!

Below are stores in the local area where you can find Israeli products. If you know of a store that is not listed, please let us know.  When you’re out buying Israeli made products, snap a photo of yourself, post it to our Facebook pagebuycott_Jessi_publixArrows

Bed Bath and Beyond

The Walking Company

Taste of Europe

Publix

CostCo

BJ’s Wholesale

Ace Hardware

Lowe’s

Home Depot

Sam’s Club

Target

Walmart

And below is an extensive list of companies that support Israel in some way or another, with the brands they own. This list alone is a WIN for beauty and fashion connoisseurs.

Estée Lauder: Chairman Ronald Lauder is the current president of the Jewish National Fund (JNF), which owns approximately 13% of land in the state of Israel.

Estée Lauder brands:

  • Aveda
  • Coach cosmetics
  • Smashbox
  • Tom Ford
  • Aramis
  • Bumble and Bumble
  • Aerin
  • American Beauty
  • Clinique
  • Bobbi Brown
  • Darphin
  • Donna Karan
  • Ermenegildo Zegna
  • Flirt!
  • Goodskin Labs
  • Grassroots Research Labs
  • Jo Malone
  • Kiton
  • La Mer
  • Lab series skincare for men
  • MAC
  • Michael Kors
  • OJON
  • Origins
  • OSIAO
  • Prescriptives
  • Tommy Hilfiger
  • Tory Burch

Ahava

Revlon: Revlon’s largest stakeholder, Ronald Perelman, is a major trustee of the Simon Weisenthal foundation, Revlon also owns Almay.

L’Oreal:  L’Oreal Israel also manufacturers a line of products using Dead Sea minerals under the name “Natural Sea Beauty” that is exported to 22 countries.

L’Oreal brands:

  • Lancome
  • Giorgio Armani Beauty
  • Yves Saint Laurent Beauté
  • Biotherm
  • Kiehl’s
  • Ralph Lauren
  • Shu Uemura
  • Cacharel
  • Helena Rubinstein
  • Clarisonic
  • Diesel
  • Viktor & Rolf
  • Yue Sai
  • Maison Martin Margiela
  • Urban Decay
  • Guy Laroche
  • Paloma Picasso
  • Vichy
  • La Roche-Posay
  • SkinCeuticals
  • Inneov
  • Rogers&Gallet
  • Sanoflore
  • L’Oreal Paris
  • Garnier
  • Maybelline New York
  • Carson
  • Essie
  • The Body Shop
  • L’Oreal Professionnel
  • Kérastase
  • Redken
  • Matrix
  • Pureology
  • Shu Uemura Art of Hair
  • Mizani
  • NYX (recent acquisition)

Procter & Gamble 

Procter & Gamble brands include:

  • Always
  • Tampax
  • Luvs
  • Pampers
  • Bounty
  • Naturella
  • Tempo
  • Charmin
  • Whisper
  • Dodot
  • Puffs
  • Crest
  • Gillette
  • Oral-B
  • Scope
  • Vicks
  • Venus
  • Clearblue
  • Fusion
  • Braun
  • CoverGirl
  • Herbal Essences
  • Max Factor
  • Nice ‘n Easy
  • Pantene
  • Vidal Sassoon
  • Dolce & Gabbana
  • Ivory
  • Aussie
  • Head & Shoulders
  • Old Spice
  • Secret
  • Olay
  • Clairol Professional
  • Cheer
  • Bounce
  • Daz
  • Era
  • Gain
  • Clean
  • Comet
  • Downy
  • Fab
  • Gala
  • Proper
  • Ariel
  • Cascade
  • Dash
  • Dawn
  • Dreft Laundry
  • Fairy
  • Joy
  • Myth
  • Swiffer
  • Febreeze
  • Duracell

Johnson & Johnson: In 1998 Israel bestowed a Jubilee Award to Johnson & Johnson. Awarded personally by Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu on Israel’s 50th anniversary, the Jubilee Awards were given to select individuals and companies who, through their investments and trade relationships, have done the most to strengthen the Israeli economy.

Johnson & Johnson brands:

  • Johnson’s baby products
  • Aveeno
  • Lubriderm
  • Aveeno
  • Neutrogena
  • Vendome
  • Clean & Clear
  • Roc
  • Bebe
  • Band-Aid
  • Bengay
  • Neosporin
  • Cortaid
  • Listerine
  • Rembrandt
  • Tylenol
  • Sudafed
  • Pepcid
  • Nicorette
  • Motrin
  • Immodium
  • Dolormin
  • Benadryl
  • Mylanta
  • Zyrtec
  • Splenda
  • Benecol
  • Lactaid
  • Visine
  • Acuvue contact lenses

Kimberly-Clark:They also received a Jubilee Award in 1998.

Kimberly-Clark brands:

  • Kotex
  • Depends
  • Poise
  • Kleenex
  • Scott
  • Viva
  • Cottonelle
  • Wondersoft
  • Thick & Thirsty
  • Huggies
  • Pull-Ups
  • GoodNites, Little Swimmers, Snugglers, etc

 

 

Moroccanoil hair products: made in Israel

Lavan body products: made in Israel

Albaad Rostam tampons: Albaad Rostam products are made in Israel. The company manufactures private label tampons for major companies in the US.

Generic tampon brands by Albaad Rostam:

  • Target (Up&Up)
  • Wal Mart (Equate)
  • Kroger (Kroger, Ralphs, Dillons, Smith’s, King Soopers, Fry’s, QFC, City Market, Owen’s, Jay C, Pay Less, Baker’s, Gerbes, Scott’s Food & Pharmacy, Harris Teeter)
  • Walgreens
  • Rite Aid
  • CVS

Delta Galil industries: Israeli textile companies

Clothing brands using Delta Galil fabric:

  • Nike
  • Calvin Klein
  • Victoria’s Secret
  • Columbia
  • Lacoste
  • Walmart
  • Tommy Hilfiger
  • Triumph
  • United Colors of Benetton
  • Hugo Boss
  • Kenneth Cole
  • Target
  • Avia
  • Converse
  • Penguin
  • Lulu Lemon
  • MLB
  • JC Penney
  • Pierre Cardin
  • HEMA
  • Wilson
  • Marks and Spencer
  • BHS
  • UnderArmor
  • Maidenform
  • Sam’s Club
  • Spanx
  • Wacoal
  • Etam
  • 1,000 Mile
  • Wolf Lingerie
  • Dillard’s
  • Umbro
  • Saucony
  • SweatyBetty
  • Lane Bryant
  • Joop!
  • Marc O’Polo
  • Matalan
  • Sears
  • Primark
  • Hunkemoller

So get beautiful, diaper your child, wear your Friday best and BUYcott Israel! 

Israeli President Rivlin’s Message on Independence Day

11 May

May 10th, 2016

In honor of the upcoming national days, President Reuven Rivlin sent an Independence Day message to Jewish communities and friends of Israel around the world.

 

In his message – which can be viewed here – President Rivlin spoke of his memories as a nine year old child, seeing the flag of Israel raised for the first time as the flag of an independent, sovereign state, he said, “Today, each time I see the flag flying, it fills my heart with pride and joy. As Israel turns 68, we can look with pride, at our past, and must look to the future with hope. The State of Israel was born out of a hope of 2000 years. It was born with the bravery of dreamers who worked to turn their dream into reality. Their spirit stays with us today. In the past year, I have visited many different places across this wonderful country, I have seen this spirit, this joy and pride, which still pushes us forward.”

 

The President spoke of the terrible price of terrorism and said, “Sadly, over the last year Israel has faced a wave of terrible terror attacks which has brought much pain, and left many painful scars. I sat in the houses, of the families who lost loved ones, soldiers and civilians, I felt their pain, and shared in their tears.” He stressed, “Terror will not overcome us, even though it may take a terrible price.” 

 

The President highlighted the importance of celebrating diversity in Israel’s democracy, “Real independence, means the freedom of expression, to celebrate and enjoy the diversity of voices of all the people in Israel, as different as they may be; whether we agree with them or not. An inclusive nation, which knows to debate and discuss with respect and understanding.”

 

The President concluded, “Our Independence Day is a day to celebrate. It is a day to lift the flag high in the knowledge that our hope will lead us to find the way to overcome the challenges, and to spread a message of understanding and respect between one another. And while around our borders, and even inside our borders, blow the terrible winds of radical Islam, we are sure of our path and of our ability and right to build here our national home, with security and prosperity.”

Reflection on MLK Day

19 Jan

Today is January 19th, 2015, Martin Luther King Jr. day.  Each year we take this day to reflect on our country’s history, on civil rights and on social justice – at least that’s what I take from it. I guess it’s easy because I work for a non-profit which promotes civil rights and social justice from a Jewish perspective and it’s because of that Jewish perspective that a news story this morning struck a nerve with me.  “Argentine prosecutor who accused Fernandez of Iran plot found dead”

I don’t have Argentine blood, or even any real connection to the country besides a visit to the AMIA building on a JDC

(FILE) Firemen and policemen search for wounded people after a bomb exploded at the Argentinian Israelite Mutual Association (AMIA) in Buenos Aires, 18 July 1994.The Jewish community in Argentina expressed vehement opposition on January 28, 2013 to Argentina and Iran's agreement to create a "truth commission" to probe a 1994 bombing of a Jewish center that killed 85 people. On Sunday, President Cristina Kirchner announced a deal with Tehran for a probe by a commission composed of five independent judges -- none of whom would be from either Iran or Argentina.   AFP PHOTO/Ali BURAFI        (Photo credit should read ALI BURAFI/AFP/Getty Images)

(FILE) Firemen and policemen search for wounded people after a bomb exploded at the Argentinian Israelite Mutual Association (AMIA) in Buenos Aires, 18 July 1994. AFP PHOTO/Ali BURAFI (Photo credit should read ALI BURAFI/AFP/Getty Images)

“Spring Break” social justice trip in college. We visited with Holocaust survivors and Hillel students, all of whom lived through the 1994 bombing of their “Jewish Federation”. 300 people were injured and 85 killed. There was never any resolution, just accusations flying about, until 2006 when a prosecutor Alberto Nisman started investigating a so-called cover-up involving Iran.

Knowing Argentina’s checkered post Holocaust past I would have thought some neo-Nazi group was to blame, but then again, Iran isn’t exactly a friendly country towards Jews, now is it? Since 2006, Nisman has formally accused current President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner of covering up Iran’s involvement. He claims that the cover-up “intended to clear the suspects so Argentina could start swapping grains for much-needed oil from Iran, which denies any connection with the bombing.”

Prosecutor Alberto Nisman

Prosecutor Alberto Nisman

Last night Alberto Nisman, who has a 10 person security detail because of his investigation, was found shot dead in his Buenos Aires apartment. Today is the day he would have testified in court against President Fernandez.

Jessi Sheslow is the Director of Community Relations and the Heller Israel Advocacy Initiative for The Jewish Federation of Sarasota-Manatee

100 Days of Impact: Experiencing

7 Oct
Camp  Grants and Scholarships from The Jewish Federation of Sarasota-Manatee

Camp memories last forever!

The Jewish Federation of Sarasota-Manatee awarded $56,750 in camp grants and scholarships in 2014, helping to send seventy-nine children to Jewish overnight camps this summer.

 

Justin at Camp Ramah Darom

Justin at Camp Ramah Darom

If it were not for the assistance of the Jewish Federation scholarship grant, I would not have been able to attend camp this year.  A fantastic adventure for the past 8 years, this is my last year at Camp Ramah Darom as a camper. As a Senior Camper I will have the privilege of going on a 10-day road trip up the east coast.

I have truly grown up at camp and have had the best Jewish experience. The relationships I have made at Ramah Darom have impacted my life so much that I now aspire to become a camp counselor.  I hope to give back and share my experiences with others and impact their lives as people have done for me.

These Jewish Federation Camp grants can help other children enjoy the many summers that I have and begin new journeys as well as develop a love for Jewish camping. If it were not for the Federation’s assistance, I would not have had the greatest summer ever.  I am still at camp until August 4th, and Camp Ramah is my home away from home.  With help from the Federation it can become your summer home too.

Written by Justin B., a sixteen year old 11th grader at Sarasota High School