Israeli chefs create culinary experience on their Louisville visit

Lion of Judah and Pomegranate donors enjoy an Israeli-style meal at the home of Lisa and Robert Klein Sunday, April 22. The gathering was part of the Israel at 70 festivities going on in Louisville this year. (Photos by Mary-Kate Smith)

Two Israeli chefs treated a group of local women to an Israeli culinary experience last week.
Chef Morris Zrihen and Sous-Chef Hadas Hay traveled from Louisville’s Partnership region in the Western Galilee to share their cooking with the community. Tania Ronen, a member of a Jewish and Arab-Israeli women’s cooking and discussion group, accompanied the chefs, bringing her own story to share.
Meeting in the home of Lisa and Robert Klein, Partnership Chairs, the women – Lion of Judah and Pomegranate Socity donors– sat down to their meal of delicious Israeli-style food and great conversation.
Pomegranate are women who make individual gifts of $1800-$4999 and Lions of Judah are women who make individual gifts of $5000 and above to the Federation Annual Campaign for Jewish Needs.
Klein, acknowledged the importance of Partnership in building personal connections between the local Jewish community and the Western Galilee region.
“We break down barriers and build friendships,” she said. “That has been one of the highlights of my experience with Partnership.”
Ronen said her first engagement with Partnership was with a women’s cooking group, which primarily conversed rather than cooked.
“The dish is the dialogue,” Ronen said. “What we have now is a second group of dialoguing women.”
Ronen said her experiences through Partnership – contact with American Jews – taught her how Jewish she really is.
“There are so many shades and colors to being Jewish,” she said.
Michell Korin, a leader in the Jewish Federation of Greater Indianapolis, who was at the program, had a similar response to meeting Jews from across the globe. She said traveling to Israel helped her to understand her own Jewish identity.
“As soon as I landed, I knew,” Korin said. “I wasn’t too tall. I wasn’t too loud. I wasn’t too emotional, and I was Jewish enough.”
Klein explained that trips to the Partnership region have allowed members of the Louisville Jewish community to see, not just their Jewish identity, but also Israel in new ways.
“Israel is not just about bombs and security and being aware of safety,” Klein said. “It is about the arts and community and medicine and education and academia and all the other aspects of life that we appreciate.”
One such aspect of life – the culinary arts – the visiting Israeli chefs are very familiar with.
Zrihen owns a restaurant in the Western Galilee where Hay serves as the director of the kitchen. Their restaurant, The Breakfast Club, focuses on Israeli-style breakfasts and vegetarian cuisine.
The pair spoke to the women about the meal they prepared. It included a fruit and cheese appetizer, a shuk salad, okra with minced herbs, grilled potatoes with mackerel and a caramelized pastry and strawberry dessert.
“Everything, we make from scratch,” said Hay, explaining that they primarily cook with fresh vegetables and herbs.
As the meal progressed, Sara Klein Wagner, president and CEO of the Jewish Community of Louisville, acknowledged the need to celebrate the 70th anniversary of Israel.
“I can’t imagine a world without Israel,” she said.

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