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The Meat and Potatoes of Yeshivah Life

Riki Goldstein

Purim is over and the boys will soon be home from yeshivah. You stock your freezer before they arrive: plenty of kokosh cake and chopped liver, kugel and cold cuts. But the duffel bags have barely been moved from the front hall before your supplies are finished… as well as the shnitzel for the second night of Yom Tov and the knishes you prepared for Friday afternoon. And the thought crosses your mind: Who feeds these bottomless pits all year round? Meet the hidden heroes of your son’s yeshivah.

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Most employees occasionally miss a work deadline. And once in a while, Mom can let the family manage without a nutritionally rounded home-cooked supper. But when supper is your job, “not ready yet” is not an option. “A cook has three nonnegotiable deadlines every single day,” says Rabbi Chesky Neuhaus, the cook at Yeshivas Zichron Moshe in South Fallsburg. Even if a worker is sick, or a delivery has not arrived, breakfast, lunch, and supper must go on. Former caterer Rabbi Yehoshua Weiss, now head cook and kitchen manager at the Mir in Yerushalayim, agrees. When the tidal wave of students floods out of the shiur rooms and beis medrash, the food needs to be on the table. With thousands of bochurim and avreichim to feed, Rabbi Weiss’s job is highly pressurized, especially when there’s an occasional hiccup in plans. The Mir Yeshivah has its own shechitah. Rabbi Weiss remembers one memorable morning he was informed that the previous night’s shechitah had been problematic, and the chickens would not make their early morning appearance. He improvised and created a new main dish, based on goulash meat and wings, spiced and served like the popular takeout dish, Me’orav Yerushalmi. “Supper was a total hit!” 

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