Mitzvah Market Magazine: A Cooking Project

Mitzvah Market Magazine: A Cooking Project

By Daniel Satran

My parents have always told me that they believe the most important part of the Bar Mitzvah is the Mitzvah Project and that you should have a real connection to it to make it truly meaningful. I agree, but I had been struggling to find the right project that worked for me. Then I got a little help from my mom.

An interest of mine has always been cooking. I love to make breakfast and dinner for my family. I learned a lot about cooking at camp. My mother had gone to Israel with the Jewish Women’s Renaissance Project and discovered the organization, OneFamily Overcoming Terror Together. OneFamily helps those who were victims of terror attacks and war rebuild their lives. While she was there, she cooked recipes from OneFamily’s “A Taste of Life” cookbook alongside parents whose children had died from such attacks. In the cookbook, bereaved mothers share their recipes and tell the story of their children through the food they shared.

When my mom came home, we discussed the trip. That’s when I realized that since I enjoy cooking and babysitting younger kids, perhaps I could craft a workshop, fundraiser combining those interests for my Mitzvah Project. Plus, I could help the organization at the same time.

I decided to model a cooking class like my mom did in Israel, and charged $36 (double chai) for each child to participate. All of the money received went directly to OneFamily. I selected recipes I loved from the book, chose a date and created a flyer that I distributed around my town.

Once kids started registering, I realized I needed some help. So, a couple of my friends helped me by running a cooking station. We had 17 kids, ages 5 to 11. We made my favorite recipes from the OneFamily cookbook – pizza (where everyone made their own custom creation), shakshuka (an Israeli dish of eggs poached in a sauce of tomatoes, chili peppers and onions), and every kid’s favorite, candy salad! (It’s actually a mixture of chocolate, marshmallows, sprinkles and gummy candies).

We also read Gidi’s story from the cookbook. Her mother wrote about how Gidi’s special birthday treat was candy salad. This helped show the kids what was truly special about what they were cooking and why we were raising money for this organization that helps such families.

After the workshop, my mom and I went to the OneFamily U.S. offices in New Jersey to personally deliver the $700 I raised. (In addition to the charge for the program, other people found out about my project and gave me donations.) This part was more meaningful than I thought. Once we got there, we saw how much they appreciated the money, and what it meant to them. I saw firsthand how something I worked hard on could help others.

Not only did I raise money, but I also raised my awareness about what is happening in Israel. This is something I enjoyed so much that I want to do it again in the future. I’m already planning what other recipes I want to cook.

Daniel Satran is in 8th grade at Briarcliff Middle School. For more information about OneFamily, go to onefamilytogether.org or call 646-289-8600.

Posted in Projects and tagged .