Teen cooking program delivers tasty chesed


A Merrick program that helps women coping with cancer and other illnesses is mobilizing teenagers to learn traditional cooking and then bring the tasty results to families in need.
The next in a series of monthly Cooking for Hope classes is set for Tuesday, April 29, 7 to 9 pm, at the Chabad House, 2083 Seneca Gate, Merrick. Eight Merrick youngsters participated in the first class in March, preparing gefilte fish, chicken soup and hammantashen.
The classes, are a part of the Circle of Hope project of the Chabad Center for Jewish Life. Circle of Hope, is a joint effort of the Merrick, Bellmore, Wantagh and nearby communities.
Coordinator Michele Krebs Moscovitz said this “is an amazing opportunity for our teens to come together for an incredible cause.”
“The best part of Cooking for Hope is that after the teens learn to cook and bake, we can personally deliver the dishes to community members who are not well — a cheerful visit with a home-cooked care package can do wonders,” she said.
The students will learn to cook a full gamut of kosher delicacies and be able to perform the added chesed of bikur cholim. The monthly cooking lessons — also planned for May 13, June 10, June 8, Aug. 6 and Sept. 9 — will be led by Sheri Fisch and Hannah David of Merrick.
“I love to cook and cooking for a worthwhile cause and giving back to the community is such a great feeling,” said Cooking for Hope volunteer Sheri Fisch. “Inspiring teens to cook and give to a good cause is what we hope and want our teens to do.”
More than 30 women are involved on the committee, said Moscovitz, with some delivering meals and others assisting in other ways. She said that three to six meals are dropped off each week in Merrick and Bellmore with more during the holidays.
The goal of Circle of Hope is to unite the community and to bring hope and encouragement and support to those in need to help instill confidence and overcome the challenges they face. All programs are free, confidential and open to all. Programs include support groups to guide patients through the maze of choices and dilemmas associated with cancer treatment.
Circle of Hope holds health seminars to educate about early detection and treatment. Cancer survivors can donate wigs they no longer need to the Circle of Hope wig bank for new patients to use; they are washed and set by Beautiful People Salon. They also teach patients makeup application, focusing on eyebrows and eyelashes. Circle of Hope offers financial assistance when necessary, helping with insurance co-pays, meals, transportation to treatments, and summer camp scholarships for children.
No previous cooking experience is required to participate in the teen program. To join or for information, call Michele or Nancy at 516-833-3057, email CircleOfHope@ChabadJewishLife.org or visit bit.ly/QxdFy8