Do you need Shabbat dinner inspiration? For their final project our Amplifying Israel teen fellows for February, Lulu Rosenberg and Shaked Nitka, created a joint cookbook of Shabbat dinner recipes:

“We were able to show how even thousands of miles away, we all share the connection of our Judaism and especially through our Shabbat dinners and meals! We hope you enjoy seeing our recipes and that you might even try them out!” Shaked & Lulu

Shaked’s Recipes from Israel!

Oven-baked rice with chestnuts and cashews

Ingredients:

★ 2 cups of rice

★ 2 packs of chestnuts cut into cubes

★ Cashew

★ Chopped medium onion

★ 2 of tablespoons of soy sauce

★ 2 of tablespoons of date honey

★ 1/4 cup of oil

★ 4 cups of water

Instruction:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees
  2. Put the cashew and chestnut onion rice in a baking pan and mix
  3. Add the soy sauce and date honey and mix
  4. Add the oil and mix.
  5. Add the hot water and mix
  6. Put in the oven for 1 hour
  7. After baking, use a fork and gently open the rice
  8. And the rice is ready😋

Pita with za’atar

Ingredients:

★ 1 kg flour

★ 700 m”l of cold water

★ 1 teaspoon of dried yeast

★ 15 grams of salt

★ A little flour to flour the surface

★ Olive oil to grease the bowl

★ Za’atar and olive oil mixed together

Instruction:

  1. Put water, salt, and yeast in the mixer bowl and stir. Turn on the mixer and add the flour gradually
  2. Grease a bowl with a little olive oil and transfer the dough to it. Cover and soak overnight in the fridge.
  3. Remove the bowl from the fridge and bring it to room temperature
  4. Divide the dough into eight equal balls and place in a mold And let the dough apple for 2 hours.
  5. Prepare a work surface and sprinkle flour generously on it.
  6. Flatten the dough ball with your hands
  7. Spread as a tablespoon of the za’atar and oil mixture on each pita
  8. Bake in the tabun at a temperature of about 500 degrees for 2 minutes
  9. Bon appetit😋

Sfinj

Ingredients:

★ 1 kg white flour

★ Fifty grams of fresh yeast

★ 1/2 cup white sugar

★ 1/2 teaspoon of salt

★ 800 m”l water

★ oil for frying

Instruction:

  1. In a large bowl mix together flour and yeast
  2. Add sugar and salt and mix
  3. Add half the amount of water and put the dough for a minute
  4. Gradually add the remaining water and continue kneading for another minute
  5. Cover the bowl and wait until the dough is twice as large
  6. Mix the dough with your hands to remove the air Cover and wait again
  7. Make a little ball out of the dough and make a hole in the middle of it
  8. Fry the ball in the oil until it gets a golden color and dip in sugar
  9. Continue throughout the rest of the dough
  10. Bon appetit!

Lulu’s Recipes from Atlanta!

Shabbat Chicken

Pound chicken flat and dip it in Jason’s seasoned bread crumbs until both sides are covered and then saute in olive oil until brown, flip, and cook until brown again (chicken will not be fully cooked at this point). Put the chicken into a baking dish, (we use a 9×13). Pour chicken soup stock to cover chicken (typically 1-2 cups is enough to cover- we use the parve Better than Bouillon Chicken Flavor). Then, add 2 cups of mushrooms on top (drained), cover and cook at 350 for at least 40 minutes. The longer you cook it, the more tender the chicken becomes!

This is a Shabbat staple in my house. This chicken always reminds me of warm meals in my house with my family and friends!

Lemon Garlic Chicken and Pasta

4 chicken breasts

4 tablespoons olive oil

2 lemons- 1 thinly sliced and 1 juiced

3-4 cloves of garlic minced

1 teaspoon kosher salt

Ground black pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Coat a large baking dish or skillet with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Arrange lemon slices at the bottom of the dish or skillet. In a large bowl, combine the remaining oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt, and pepper and toss to coat. Place the chicken in the same bowl with the olive oil mixture and coat thoroughly and then place in the dish or skillet. Pour any remaining olive oil mixture over the chicken. You can also add a lemon slice on top each piece if you like. Roast covered for skinless or uncovered with skin for 50 minutes.

While chicken is cooking, cook a packet of whole wheat spaghetti per the instructions on the box. Save 1 cup of the pasta water before draining. Add the water back to drained pasta, drizzle olive oil on it and also add a few pinches of pasta spices- (we like dried oregano, dried basil, dried thyme and garlic).

Put pasta on a plate and top with chicken and a lemon spice!

Rugelach

½ cup + 2 teaspoons granulated sugar

1 package of active dry yeast

½ cup of warm water

¼ cup of margarine

1 teaspoon of salt

2 eggs, beaten

4 cups of all purpose flour

In a large bowl, stir 2 teaspoons of sugar with ¼ cup of warm water until dissolved. Sprinkle in yeast; let stand until frothy (about 10 minutes). While you are waiting, heat remaining water in a small saucepan, add the rest of the sugar, margarine and salt until the margarine is melted. Let cool until lukewarm and stir into yeast mixture. Add the beaten eggs. Then stir in 3 and ¼ cups of the flour, about 1 cup at a time. Knead until smooth on a lightly floured surface- about 10 minutes or so. Add extra flour if the dough is too sticky. Transfer to a large bowl greased with oil and turn dough to grease all over. Cover with plastic wrap; let rinse in a warm draft-free place until doubled in bulk- about 1- 1 and ½ hours.

Roll out the dough, cover lightly with oil, sprinkle cinnamon-sugar or sweetened cocoa. Cut into triangles and roll from large end into peak of triangle. You can brush with beaten egg mixed with water. Let rise again for 45 minutes. Bake at 350 degrees F for 10-15 minutes until the rugelach are medium brown.

This is my great grandmother and Bubbie’s recipe- it is my favorite!

Root One, the major new $20 million national initiative announced by The Marcus Foundation in Atlanta to pump new life into teen trips to Israel, is off to a strong start.

Despite all the uncertainties connected with international travel during the pandemic, the program, announced in September, is running at full capacity and is being built out for future growth.

As the program approaches the midpoint of its first year almost all of the 5,000 individual grants for teen travel in 2021 have been snapped up.

They each provide a $3,000 voucher to defray the cost of the trip for 10th, 11th and 12th graders, leaving families to come up with $1,500 additional that’s needed for the multi- week program.

According to The Marcus Foundation there’s been a 58 percent increase in participation this year, over the number of teen travelers in 2019. But the numbers only tell part of the story. For Rabbi Yoni Kaiser-Blueth, who developed Root One at The Marcus Foundation, there a qualitative goal as well.Rabbi Yoni Kaiser-Blueth, who developed the Root grant, has been a Hillel leader at George Washington University.

“We really want to build out a pipeline of teens that is connected to the next stage of Jewish life. The hope is that by getting kids to experience Israel at a deeper level, that when they get to college, they’ll have the ability to advocate for and to be part of the pro-Israel community on college campuses.”

To build participation, the program partnered last fall with five of the major organizations that are involved with programming for Jewish adolescents: United Synagogue Youth, Ramah Israel, Union of Reform Judaism/NFTY, Orthodox NCSY and B’nai B’rith Youth Organization, which represent a broad cross section of Jewish life. That has since been expanded to over 20 organizations nationally. They have all been brought together to help prepare young people for a rich experience in Israel, according to Rabbi Kaiser-Blueth.

“We want to create a marketplace of content providers so that each organization can select a menu of modules or topics that they want for their teams. We want them all to be engaged with their participants in the months leading up to their trip.”

Among those who are coming up with new educational initiatives is Atlanta’s JumpSpark Atlanta organization, which is itself a new way to more fully engage teens in Jewish communal life. In January the group hosted “Teaching Israel in 2021” to help give 84 Jewish educators in Atlanta who participated the confidence and tools to move forward.

Kelly Cohen, JumpSpark’s executive director, said, “A lot of educators get very nervous around teaching Israel, talking about Israel. And we really want to help give them the skills and the resources to feel confident in teaching about Israel, talking about Israel and promoting teen Israel travel.”

JumpSpark is about to launch a new Root One teen program. It’s called the Amplifying Israel Team Fellowship in which four teams of young people who are involved in the Israel trips are partnering with teens in a sister city in Israel, It’s a way JumpSpark’s Cohen hopes to boost the number of young people going to Israel next year by 90 percent. She sees Root One as not just to build partnerships in Israel but to help create a more dynamic future.

“These Israel programs are really building a whole army of folks on the ground who will be speaking from their own experience. Having gone on these Israel trips, they will help to recruit others to go on Israel trips. Peer-to-peer engagement has been a very successful model for us in moving the needle of engagement among teens here.”

According to the executive director of the national Root One program, Simon Amiel, who spent 13 years developing campus programs for Hillel, Root One is about a wide range of options for teens.

Marcus Foundation’s Renay Blumenthal has a long history in Atlanta philanthropy.

“There’s tremendous opportunity for us to further deepen their growth in Jewish life, and so we look at that as the arc of the Israel experience. So that’s where our investment primary lies, in the entire arc of the Israel experience.”

For The Marcus Foundation, the grant for the first year is just a down-payment on helping to build a long-term commitment by a large community of funders and nonprofits to take the program to its next level.

As foundation vice president Renay Blumenthal sees it, Root One has the potential to loom large in the future of Jewish life.

“For Bernie Marcus, who established The Marcus Foundation, philanthropy is not just about writing checks for things. He wants to transform things. He wants to create change. And I think that’s what he feels like he’s doing. The ultimate goal of this program is to change the trajectory of Jewish connection, Jewish identity and connection to Israel for our youth, and have kids be prepared before they step foot on college campuses.”

This article was originally published in the Atlanta Jewish Times. Read it here.

Judaism is a big part of my life and it is in my daily life almost everywhere, sometimes even without me noticing it. It could be reflected in the David shield necklace that I got for my Bat Mitzvah which I wear all the time or in the special feeling of a holiday whenever Friday comes. I think the fact that I’m Israeli has a strong connection to my Judaism because in Israel there are many holy places for Judaism that are relatively close to me and that allows me to connect with Judaism and the history of the Jewish people. Also, Israel is based on Judaism and its laws, and the people surrounding me are following those just like me. For example, on Yom Kippur, everything is closed and when I go out on the streets there are lots of people outside riding a bike or meeting each other to spend this time together which allows me to experience the holiday in a more powerful and special way.

I’m not in a religious Jewish school, but Judaism is still present, I learn The Bible and on school trips we go to places that are important to the history of the Jewish people. After school, I usually learn more and do my homework, with my friends or riding my roller skates to a field close to my house where I will read a book or knit. On Friday, which is my favorite day of the week, I help my parents cook for Shabbat dinner, and on that day, my brother also comes back from the Israeli army, and we all sit down and have Shabbat dinner together. Being Jewish and Israeli is a big and important part of my identity that matters and interests me greatly and I love opportunities like this one (Amplifying Israel teen fellow) that connect me to Judaism.

Shaked is an Amplifying Israel teen fellow.

Whether I am lighting the Shabbat candles, eating chicken soup with matzah balls, participating in a global Jewish youth group like BBYO, or attending a Strong Jewish Women’s Fellowship meeting, there is no doubt that I am connected to my Judaism . Being Jewish is a huge part of my identity and it plays a major role in my daily life. When I wake up in the morning, it’s not like the first thing I think of is being Jewish. But when I come downstairs and see a plate of hamentashens from my neighbor on the counter, I don’t question it. When I get a bowl for my cereal before I go to school, I make sure to get a dairy one and not a meat one. Leaving my house for school, I pass the mezuzah on the door and walk to my car. I don’t even notice the sticker on my windshield for the Jewish Community Center anymore; it is the same one that practically every other Jew in Atlanta also has. 

I used to go to a Jewish day school where all my friends and most of my teachers were Jewish. Now, I attend public school. My closest friends are still Jewish but I am no longer in a bubble where Judaism defines my every day. Everyone at school knows I am Jewish, but it doesn’t seem to phase anyone like I expected it to. I’m not even sure how I expected people to act, but for some reason I believed that my Judaism would really matter to others. I remember one day, my first year of high school, I brought matzah ball soup to school for lunch. I spent the entire lunch period trying to explain to my non-Jewish friends what a matzah ball even is. Wet bread? Mushy dumpling? I didn’t know how to explain it but my non-Jewish friends were interested and it made me laugh trying to explain a traditional food to someone who had never tried it.  It was funny and I enjoyed telling my friends about Jewish traditions. 

After school, I usually go home and I either have tutoring, a ceramics class or a BBYO call. On Fridays, I have Shabbat dinner with my family and sometimes we light the candles on FaceTime with my aunt and Bubbie who are all the way in Canada. Judaism plays out in my everyday life, but it is all I have ever known. And until I wrote this article, I didn’t even realize how much of a role being Jewish really has in my daily life, but I like having something that connects me to others who also share my religion and I also appreciate feeling unique when I am around others who aren’t Jewish. My great-grandparents were Holocaust survivors and, after everything she went through, my great-grandmother’s Jewish pride had a big impact on me. I honestly wouldn’t trade being Jewish for anything. 

Period poverty is one of the most overlooked struggles, yet it still manages to affect more than 40 million people here in the United States alone, according to the Shriver Report. In January, the Jumpspark Strong Women Fellowship hosted a Zoom meeting to discuss the topics of period poverty, menstrual equity, and what the Atlanta community can do to create change. Lorrie L. King, former public health and humanitarian response professional, spoke to the group about how her experiences have taught her about the importance of advocating for menstrual aid projects and educating people on menstrual issues. Another big component of the event was involved with Project Dignity, a program created by the Jewish Federation to bring people facing period poverty the supplies and education they need to maintain menstrual hygiene. 

The event kicked off with a brief explanation of the purpose of Project Dignity, and Lorrie presented a video about period poverty. Produced with women experiencing homelessness in New York City, this video was made to open the eyes of people around the country to what unhoused people who menstruate go through each month. 

Many people living on the streets and facing poverty, in general, are forced to choose between necessary menstrual hygiene commodities and food because the products are overpriced. Rather than purchasing the typically expensive period products, people have resorted to using all types of materials to “take care” of their period. Some of these include napkins, socks, leaves, rags, and shirts, all of which do not meet the standards of safe-to-use products. 

Later in our session, the group began discussing the history behind periods and how the menstrual cycle used to be something celebrated but has slowly become something taboo and to be ashamed of among many cultures. Many menstruating people in places like Western Nepal are removed from their primary living spaces and sent to unsanitary huts while they are on their periods. These women are cast out and are forced to live in sheds with the farm animals because menstruating is considered to be dirty and impure. 

A screenshot from Project Dignity’s zoom lecture.

This culture of removing women from their homes and placing them in the subtropical elements, such as extreme temperatures and high altitudes, causes many women to be prone to further health issues and to die. Girls living in these areas have been neglected and are uneducated about their own bodies. They do not understand what happens to them every month, nor where the blood even comes from. This lack of education and information leads to extreme misinformation among the culture, which causes more pain and suffering for women. 

Period poverty is a global issue, but it also affects many people here in Atlanta, and Project Dignity also works to help create change locally. Periods are a personal topic, especially for young people who have to manage their period while going to school and maintaining education. This month, Project Dignity is focusing on donating menstrual products to high schools in the Atlanta community. According to a survey done by State of the Period, 1 in 5 teenagers suffer from period poverty, and many high schoolers who get their periods are not supplied with necessary items such as pads and tampons during their school week, which Project Dignity is trying to change. 

Periods should not be something that has to impair the education and school days of teenagers. Pads and tampons should be supplied in restrooms of public schools to ensure that no student will have to worry about how they will manage their period. 

Another major initiative of Project Dignity this month is to help provide menstrual products for local refugee centers. When refugees arrive in Atlanta, they are each given packs filled with essentials; however, these packs almost never include period supplies. Project Dignity has set up an Amazon wishlist to make it as easy as possible for people to donate period supplies. Both of these missions are equally important and can easily be achieved with the support and generosity of our community. 



Leah Moradi, 16, is a sophomore at The Weber School in Sandy Springs, GA, who enjoys being with friends, reading, and advocating for topics she is passionate about.

This article was originally published in VOX ATL. Read the full article here.

 

“Participating in the fellowships enabled me to make some of my closest Jewish friends from across the country and channel my passion for social change into real action,” writes JumpSpark Strong Woman Fellow Sarah Dowling.

Pictured: JumpSpark Strong Woman Fellows share community building time with activist Logan Zinman Gerber (top right)

Sarah: I first realized the need for meaningful and effective gun violence prevention legislation in 2016, when an angry former teacher at my sister’s school was intercepted by the police on his way back to school with a gun and ammunition he bought immediately after being fired. 

I learned to turn my passion into action by working with Logan Zinman Gerber, who runs a high school fellowship to teach teens across the country how to enact social change on topics like gun violence prevention, and, in the future, racial justice. Logan taught me about gun violence prevention in a social justice seminar held by the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism (RAC), and helped me present a speech to my United States congressional representatives alongside other Jewish teenagers from my community to lobby for gun violence prevention. 

About a month later, I joined two RAC fellowships, both of which were led by Logan. My gun violence prevention fellowship allowed me to learn about the complex issue in a nuanced light, providing me with the tools I needed for action. I looked forward to each session, and I never left a meeting without something new to think about. 

Participating in the fellowships enabled me to make some of my closest Jewish friends from across the country and channel my passion for social change into real action. For my culminating fellowship project, I led a voter registration campaign that reached over 500 people. Logan still continues to support and inspire me, and meeting with her as part of JumpSpark’s Strong Women Fellowship reminded me of the importance of activism and unity as a whole, especially in the context of the recent attack on the Capitol, which highlighted the division in our nation and reminded us that white supremacy still stands strong.

Eva: While many teens feel stranded this year, discovering opportunities to make a change regarding issues that are important to us is especially important in times as turbulent as the present. Whether we like it or not, our lives are changing, making it all the more important to reflect on our pasts and plan how we want to continue our journeys in the future just as Logan taught us. This year, I have opened my eyes to the world around me, and discovered for myself what issues are important to me. In the past, I have volunteered for a gun violence prevention organization. Hearing from Logan, who has done incredible work regarding gun violence prevention, really helped me to understand what a global issue gun violence is. With this new knowledge, I can decide for myself what I want to do in the future to create change, all while incorporating my Jewish identity. 

When Logan met with our Strong Women Fellowship in November, she pushed each of us to reflect on our own journeys and relationships with Judaism and activism thus far in our lives. Logan has spent the past two years leading teen gun violence prevention and civic engagement campaigns for the Reform Jewish Movement, connecting with half a million voters. In addition, she has been active in her outside work as the national volunteer coordinator for the American Cancer Society, where she assists people in coping with transition, as well as sharing their cancer stories. 

Our session with Logan fostered a greater sense of connection and understanding between the members of our Fellowship. In one activity where we created timelines of our Jewish journey, we found countless similarities among the handful of other girls in our breakout groups. In particular, we all found that while times of isolation from the Jewish community hurt us emotionally in the moment, in the end, these times pushed us to find our own connection to Judaism and only worked to strengthen our Jewish identities. The farther each of us got from Judaism, the stronger our desire for connection grew.

Pictured: Padlet featuring notes from Strong Woman Fellows.

In addition, Logan connected activism and making change to the Jewish value of tikkun olam, repairing the world. Writing anonymously on a Padlet (an online discussion board, where we had posted questions for everyone to reflect upon), several Strong Women Fellows described this connection and how it inspires them: 

“Tikkun olam inspires me to create change. It is also powerful to know that helping in the world was something that my ancestors did.” 

Another Strong Women Fellow described Judaism as “… the coffee in my activism – it fuels everything I do.”

Making these connections was both powerful for us as Jews, and as activists as well. In addition to empowering us to examine our own connections to Judaism and activism, Logan gave the Strong Women Fellows resources we need to pursue tikkun olam in the future, such as her gun violence prevention campaign geared toward young people. 

“There are so many amazing resources out there to help others get registered to vote,” one Strong Women Fellow wrote on the Padlet. 

By giving us the knowledge we need to make personal connections to Judaism and the principle of tikkun olam, meeting with Logan inspired us to create positive change in the world in a way that models our Jewish values.

What we found to be the biggest takeaway from our meeting was that anyone can make a difference. We realized that we all can work to create a world we want to live in and that our work does not have to wait. Each of us has issues we care about, from gun violence to racial justice to climate change to reproductive rights, so we can all fight to create change, one step at a time.


Eva Beresin, 16, is a sophomore at The Weber School in Sandy Springs, GA, who enjoys reading and spending time with friends.

Sarah Dowling, 16, is a junior at The Lovett School in Atlanta who enjoys listening to music and reading

This article was originally published by VOX ATL. Read the full article here.