Ba-Li Cravings

Our good friend, Tal Cohen of Ba-Li Cravings will be catering the Temple Beth-El annual sisterhood lunch event. Tal is a superb, mouthwatering cook and an outstanding baker; the lunch ladies are in for a gastronomic treat.

Check out Tal’s challah club (highly sought after) and feast your eyes on photos of her fabulous creations on Facebook. She always uses fresh ingredients including unique Israeli ingredients that give everything a touch of magical Israeli je ne sais quoi. Tal also is very generous and often shares recipes on her blog so you can have your own go at making her yummy concoctions.

Photo: Ba-Li cravings from a May 2014 event catered at Cornell

Contact Tal at 607-229-2214

Check out Ba-Li Cravings on Facebook: Ba-Li Cravings

and follow her blog



Wine and Charoset pairing

You’ve heard of a wine and cheese tasting, now Sisterhood of Temple Beth-El invites you to a wine and charoset tasting!

wine tasting

This super fun event will take place this coming Sunday March 30th 3-5PM. The sommelier of the event will be local wine expert David Sparrow of Sparrows Fine Wines of Ithaca, New York.

Selected Kosher for Pesach wines will be presented together with a variety of charoset recipes prepared by Sisterhood of Temple Beth-El members.

Tickets are $10 and can be obtained at or by calling the Temple office 273-5775.

vineyard Israel

Vineyard in the Ela valley, Israel. Picture credit Yehoshua Halevi for the Jerusalem Post

Reminder for Kitchen Cupboard collection

A reminder that the Temple Beth El Social Action Committee will be collecting nonperishable food items at this Sunday’s showing of Nicky’s Family.

Canned goods of all sorts (vegetables, fruit, main dish meals, tuna, etc.), pasta and jars of sauces, cereal, cooking oil – all are welcome and will be gratefully received by the Kitchen Cupboard’s clients.

When you come to the theatre, please bring a FOOD DONATION (canned or boxed) and place it in the collection box marked “For KITCHEN CUPBOARD.” The Social Action Committee will deliver those donations to the Kitchen Cupboard.

Also ongoing is the Social Action Committee’s Chanukah Tzedakah Project “Watch the Oil Grow”.

The latke, the watke and the botke

The TBE latke party was a huge success and an uplifting festive occasion.

Here is a photo of the hungry crowd queueing for latkes:

hungry crowd

And, in a what I think of as a journalistic scoop, with the very gracious permission of the man himself, here is Jerry’s “Secret Latke Recipe”:

Potato Latkes 

  • 2 eggs
  • 3 cups Yukon Gold Potatoes (shredded & drained)
  • 4 tablespoons grated onion
  • 1  teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Pepper
  • 2 tablespoons matzoh meal (a bit more if you like a drier latke)

This is truly a fabulous latke recipe.

And now I can report on two latke innovations. The first is from our friend Yael who used the waffle maker with the latke mixture to generate a waffle latke, we are terming this the “watke“. I didn’t manage to get a photo of this but it looks like a pale waffle and of course has the advantage (and disadvantage) of being a low calorie version of a latke.


The second of these innovations we are calling the “botke“.

The genesis of the botke is as follows. When shredding the potatoes for our latkes, I decided to use the fine shredder disc on the food processor. We were overwhelmed by the massive amount of liquid pouring out of our finely shredded potatoes. We tried to drain off as much as possible and to soak up the excess liquid we ended up adding far too much matzoh meal to the mix.

The resulting latkes were pretty tasteless when fried as the mixture had ended up being more matzoh ball than latke in terms of ingredients.

This gave my daughter the bright idea of boiling the mix like one would a regular matzoh ball.

So we boiled the latke mix, creating “botkes“. The botkes turned out absolutely delicious, one of those rare occasions where one can snatch culinary triumph from the jaws of disaster..

The botkes ended up being kind of like a Jewish gnocchi so we paired it with a rich tomato sauce for a very satisfying, hearty dish.

botkeThe only other recommendations from this year’s culinary latke adventures are that I heartily recommend a deep fat fryer as a great piece of equipment, and also that soybean oil appears to give a better result than frying in corn oil.

To be continued next year . . .


Nicky’s Family movie screening Dec 8th

In memory and honor of those whose lives were irreparably destroyed by “the Night of Broken Glass” Kristallnacht” 75 years ago, the film Nicky’s Family will be screened on Sunday December 8th, 2013 4 PM at Cinemapolis in downtown Ithaca.

Nicky's family

For synagogue members and families, tickets are free, and available on a first-come first-served basis.

Please reserve tickets after November 18th at the Temple Office.

Sponsored by Temple Beth El Sisterhood, Adult Education and the Rabbi’s Discretionary Fund.

Breif synoposis from movie web site:

Nicky’s Family tells the nearly forgotten story of Nicholas Winton, an Englishman who organized the rescue of 669 Czech and Slovak children just before the outbreak of World War II.

Winton did not speak about these events with anyone for more than half a century. His exploits would have probably been forgotten if his wife, fifty years later, hadn ́t found a suitcase in the attic, full of documents and transport plans.

NYT review here

The silence from this individual about his heroism, even to his wife is remarkable. I wonder if it has anything to do with one of the admirable cultural character traits of the British, namely discretion, non-volubility and an aversion to intimacy that is so different in the US.

I am wondering if this movie would be suitable for a mature almost 10-year old. Any thoughts?