July 14, 2024
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July 14, 2024
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Golden ‘Chebakia’ Cookies Make Great Chanukah Treats

This Chanukah, Boys Town Jerusalem chef Avi Chamal is preparing a traditional Moroccan delicacy that is sweet, crisp and luscious. His chebakia cookies reflect a sweet, golden hue reminiscent of the oil in the miraculous Chanukah flask.

Avi’s 900 Boys Town Jerusalem student diners anxiously await this Chanukah treat. “Even though we plan and prepare nearly 3,000 meals each school day, I look upon each meal as a distinctive experience to provide nutritious, tasty dishes. That’s how our boys know we love them!”

Israeli-born Chamal has headed the Boys Town Jerusalem kitchen for 14 years, producing freshly cooked and baked fare daily to delight the palates of the Boys Town student body, who trace their origins to 45 countries across the globe. Not every chef could meet this daunting task, but Avi’s previous work experience includes having served as a senior chef at the prestigious Jerusalem King David and Dan Panorama Hotels, and clinching silver medallions at the Luxembourg and Canada Cooking Competitions.

Avi is well aware of the crucial role the school’s three wholesome meals a day plays in enriching the lives of Boys Town students. For a number of these young men, it is a true lifesaver. “I get immense pleasure from planning and preparing the meals,” says the chef. “I like to give the boys the extra touches that show them we care.”

Boys Town Jerusalem is one of Israel’s premier institutions for educating the country’s next generation of leaders in the fields of technology, commerce, education, the military and public service. Since its founding in 1948, BTJ has pursued its mission of turning young boys from limited backgrounds into young men with limitless futures. From junior high through the college level, the three-part curriculum at Boys Town—academic, technological and Torah—is designed to turn otherwise disadvantaged Israeli youth into productive citizens of tomorrow. Boys Town’s 18-acre campus is a home away from home for its more than 900 students. More than 7,000 graduates hold key positions throughout Israeli society.

Chef Chamal’s Chebakia Cookies in Syrup


8 cups flour

6 Tbsp. sugar

5 tsp. baking powder

1 cup margarine

½ cup oil

½ cup beer

1 cup water, as needed


Combine and cook for 10 minutes:

1 ½ cups sugar

1 cup water

Juice of one lemon

2 whole cloves (or ground cloves, to taste)


Combine the dough ingredients in electric mixer. Add water till the dough is pliable. Remove dough and let it rest.

Divide dough into circles, approximately three ounces each. Open the circles, and use a rolling pin to roll each piece into ½”-thick squares, three inches in diameter. Score four evenly spaced slits in each dough square using a pastry wheel with a fluted edge or a pizza cutter. Do not cut the slits all the way to the ends. Shape each square into a flower by loosely slipping a fork through the slits and twisting the dough. (There are other methods of how to shape the dough into flowers, and several YouTube demonstrations.)

Heat oil for deep-frying until it simmers. Using a second fork, remove each dough circle, drop it into the oil and fry till golden, two or three minutes on each side. (Fry several “flowers” at a time.)

Remove and drain on paper towels.

Dip each cookie in syrup, and then in ground coconut, candy sprinkles or ground almonds.

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