Every job and Jewish volunteer role I’ve had has produced at least one great recipe. Thankfully in these times, I have quite a collection.
In the mid-1990s, it began with the chocolate-covered matzah I got when the first woman rabbi at Stanford University started a discussion group for Jewish female faculty and staff. That recipe has now been sent to friends and family near and far—and I can’t even count the times I have made a batch to ease whatever stress was happening at work.
Then there is the scrumptious potato kugel I got from the young rabbi’s wife who invited us to lunch at her home in Jerusalem on Shabbat. I was there to help bring the beauty and wisdom of Jewish text study to American college students. Truth was, I saw myself as taking that life-changing journey with them, and I’m still on it.
When I stepped up to lead development of a Jewish community campus here in Palo Alto, I took the risk of baking my grandmother’s strudel for my debut meeting with major donors—mostly men, and mostly harboring serious doubts about whether I was up to the challenge. I wasn’t afraid to be the woman baking cookies—because I knew that an authentic taste of something Jewish would open their hearts—and it did.