July 14, 2024
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Cooking Up a Storm at Migdal Ohr

What happens when a world-class Jewish educational institution in Israel teams up with world-class culinary educators in order to produce world-class kosher chefs? The results are a delicious combination of heart, caring, Jewish unity and great food.

The Migdal Ohr Institutions in Israel, under the leadership of Rabbi Yitzchak Dovid Grossman and his dedicated staff of hundreds, are renowned for their unique role of reaching out to the disadvantaged youth of Israeli society and transforming them into some of the best and most productive that Israel can produce.

Migdal Ohr has grown to the point where they take children from daycare centers and nursery school through higher education, supporting all the “stops” along the way, including army and national service, marriage and employment.

One of the star programs recently initiated at Migdal Ohr is the Mevashlim L’Atid (Cooking for a Future) culinary program. “It has produced so much interest that we made it one of the featured programs at this year’s American Friends of Migdal Ohr Gala Dinner,” said Norman Gildin, Executive Vice President of American Friends of Migdal Ohr and a Teaneck resident.

Migdal Ohr teamed up with Shimon Shoval, former CEO of facilities-services giant ISS Services. With his vast experience in catering and hospitality, together they created a top notch Culinary Arts, Tourism and Hospitality school for Migdal Ohr.

With 20 young men in their first year of studies and 27 in their second, plus 60 high school girls, the program is becoming a major factor in the booming food service, catering and hospitality industry in Israel.

All alumni do either military or national service and their professional culinary knowledge is both a great service to the State of Israel and a stepping stone towards a professional career.

The recent Migdal Ohr Gala, at NYC’s trendy Tribeca 360, featured two students of the Mevashlim L’Atid program, Shai Edry and Sarah Lehrfeld. The students had an opportunity to both show off their cooking prowess and describe their experiences in the program.

Shai Edry worked with the dinner caterer and helped prepare a delicious polenta dish at the cocktail reception smorgasbord. Sarah Lehrfeld addressed the dinner in a heartfelt speech about her difficult childhood and how Migdal Ohr saved her during her most trying teenage years and gave her hope for the future, thanks to her involvement in Mevashlim L’Atid.

At the dinner Rabbi Grossman took the opportunity to tell supporters about a new cutting edge Migdal Ohr program called “Mishpachtonim.”

The Mishpachtonim project allows Migdal Ohr boarding students to live in a family environment within a residence setting rather than having a dormitory counselor on each floor. The residence is configured so that there is one family living with 12 students on each floor. The students enjoy breakfast and dinner with their extended family, do homework with them and are assigned familial chores.

There are currently two occupied floors with 24 students ages 11 and 12, along with their respective host families. The goal is to complete a whole residence building with four floors that could expand the program and offer housing to 48 students. The concept of “family living” is the essence of what Migdal Ohr is all about. The same love and caring that is delivered in the classroom will now be transmitted to a child’s home life via his extended family, 24 hours a day.

The Migdal Ohr Gala honored three Metro area families: Dr. Arthur and Adina Gerber were Guests of Honor, Louis and Anat Menaged received the Tower of Light Award and Rabbi Allen and Alisa Schwartz received the Rabbinic Partnership Award.

For further information about these and all of Migdal Ohr’s amazing programs and how you can become a partner in them, please contact the American Friends of Migdal Ohr at 212 397-3700 or online at [email protected], or visit www.migdalohrusa.org.

By Tzvi Allen Fishman

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