Traditional Israeli food on the menu at JLife event

It was a night of cooking and dining on traditional Israeli food at the Temple Beth Torah in Westbury last Wednesday. The event was part of the Jewish Teen Initiative, which serves to enhance Hebrew high school programs through hands-on interactive activities and projects.

Five local synagogues were involved in the event including Temple Beth Torah, the Jericho Jewish Center, Plainview Jewish Center, Woodbury Jewish Center and the Old Westbury Hebrew Congregation.

Hali Herman, coordinator of the Teen Initiative, said that the goal of these type of events is to have teenagers participate in projects, which are meaningful to the overall Jewish way of life.

“It’s really about getting the kids involved and participating in these interactive activities and doing good deeds in the community,” said Herman.

The main focus of the night was cooking traditional Israeli fare, such as pita bread, hummus and a dish called Shakshuka, which is a combination of poached eggs, tomatoes and peppers.

Ariel Magal, Director of the Israeli Center at the Sid Jacobson JCC, said that having the kids engaged in the cooking process helps them focus on the task at hand.

“Everybody cooks the meal together, and we talk about the food while we are cooking it,” said Magal. “It brings everybody closer together and we are kind of like one body in the kitchen.”

The teens were also taught a bit of Israeli history at the event. Members of unit 669, an Israeli search and rescue team, gave a video presentation of the country’s medical unit operations and how they go about saving people’s lives.

The JLife event was part of four main programs that take place throughout the year.

Last month, teens helped build terrariums for senior citizen centers at an event at the Jericho Jewish Center. They also participated in a pay it forward program through LI Connections, to provide snack bags and other essential items to homeless people on Long Island.

The final event will take place on April 15th in Manhattan, where teens will be part of a collective project that includes a scavenger hunt through the lower East side.

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