Eco-Kashrut and Teenagers

Though Laurel and Eli are my neighbors, I literally have never seen them in the neighborhood.  Instead, I seem to see them everyone where else, including online!  Laurel saw my post on facebook asking for bloggers, and she stepped up with this awesome post.  What perfect timing to be able to document this inspiring meal. (And if you’re still waiting for the right week to blog, when you figure it out, you know where to find me.)

Kosher, which technically when translated, means “proper or fit,” was the theme of the evening – although not by traditional standards.  We focused on eco-kashrut as our dinner theme (which was by request of our students, but a value that my husband and I practice in our home). I got chills when one of our graduating high school seniors stood up to tell the group of junior high and high-schoolers from our Confirmation Academy about where our food came from (like which farm and how far it was from Philly), and the environmental impact of locavore consumption.

If you don’t know us, my husband Eli and I are working on becoming more conscious consumers. We helped start a Hazon CSA (community supported agriculture) at our congregation, Rodeph Shalom where he serves as one of the Rabbis, and Cafe Olam (the Jewish Brewpub and community space that I am opening) has sustainability as a pillar and priority.  One of our many goals, tied up with the social action & justice work we pursue, is to make this locavore value available and accessible to others. To hear it come out of a teenager’s mouth, and her peers mmhmm’ing her, was such a powerful moment for us (not to mention when said student took home all the compost, which will be picked up by Bennett Compost)! [Miriam’s note: Marc and I also compost with Bennett, and they’ve been wonderful to work with.  If you decide to sign up, mention me!]

All the food choices were intentional. Our Challah was infused with good intentions at Limmud’s  Deep Breath Baking. Our soulfully delicious dinner of fried Grow & Behold “happy chicken” (re: organic, local, free range, sustainably raised and kosher), waffles, kale chips (my favorite, see recipe below), and Cinco de Mayo Mexican wedding cookies (also my favorite!), was all procured and prepared by our students and youth group adviser, a social worker and food blogger(!!).


  • Cut a head of kale into bit sized pieces (remove stem)
  • Coat evenly in oil of choice (we use olive or coconut)
  • Sprinkle with your choice: sea salt, chopped garlic, cayenne pepper, raw cane sugar or agave
  • Bake at 350 for 10-15 (turn 1/2 way)
  • B’tei’avon / bon apatite / enjoy

After dinner, one of the youth group student leaders led a discussion on “kosher” behavior, more specifically, peer pressure. Her peers were encouraging and supportive all the way through the presentation. We concluded the evening with Eli on the Churanga (an instrument we got on our recent honeymoon in Ecuador), our education administrator wailing on the harmonica, one student making my Texas heart melt playing the washboard, and one student with a dried gourd instrument, all rocking out to a Haskivenu / One Day medley. Even when the thunder joined into our song session our spirits couldn’t be dampened. What a soul-filled (and food) Shabbat experience!

#congregationodephshalom, #growandbehold, #CafeOlamPhilly, #CenterCityCSA #Hazon

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