“It’s been two years since I started my Shlichut,” Ron Lugasy wrote last August. She was about to leave Omaha during what had been a challenging last phase of her time here. Her mission was to create meaningful connections between the community of Omaha and Israel: “from lectures to activities with kids,” she said, “from art to fun hang-outs - anything that will work and create a positive impact. It’s a very broad mission; it’s hard to measure success, and it takes time to understand the audience.”
A few months in, she created a Facebook post, asking if anyone would be interested in having a cooking class and, if so, what would they like to learn to make.
“I think that this was the Facebook post that received the highest response,” she said. “Every cooking class was fully booked; each one of them brought together a variety of people from different backgrounds, ages, and religious affiliations. All of my life, I have loved cooking and baking, and for me, those classes were the way to combine work and pleasure. There were a few times I had a little devil on my shoulder telling me: ‘This is fun, but not meaningful enough. This is not bringing enough value and education. You need to bring something that is deeper.’ And then, COVID 19 hit and I couldn't gather people. If I wanted to stay relevant, I had to keep it simple, accessible, and easy. I needed to find a way to bring Israel into people's houses, to find a way to make it part of their lives. Slowly, people started telling me that they made recipes that I shared with them in their own home, that those Israeli memories of mine are part of their dinner now, in their houses, and their family members will share the same memories as I have.”
Although Ron has gone back to Israel, we still have her recipes. Before she left, she compiled all her favorites, from salads to entrees, from pastries to Israeli favorites like Shakshuka and Za’atar pita with hummus. In addition, she included recipes from the ‘Taste of Memories’ project, which share the favortite dishes of Israel’s fallen soldiers, like Bar Rahav, who died during Operation Protective Edge when an anti-tank missile hit his engineering vehicle in Southern Gaza. Bar was 21 years old when he died and his favorite dish, filled bell peppers, is one of the previews featured on the Jewish Press website at www.omahajewishpress.com.
“I collected all of the recipes in this book from my family, my favorite chefs, and food bloggers in Israel, and of course from my own kitchen,” Ron said. “These recipes are my memories and this book is my way to keep Israel around your table, and together create shared memories around the globe. For me, food tells a story and teaches about culture,” Ron said. “In Israel, it tells the story of how different cultures became one. It’s the smells from the shuk, the family around the Shabbat table, the fresh ingredients or baked goods – these are part of our story and the things that help define us.”
Purchase a Beteavon Cookbook and help raise the funds to bring Ron back to Omaha for an in-person Israeli Cooking Experience next Spring, 2022! Your purchase will also allow you to connect virtually with Ron this summer through exclusive cooking classes offered to book owners. Ron will pick special recipes from the cookbook to share from her home in Israel. Cookbooks will be delivered mid-May and details about the classes will be sent to those who purchase the book. Price of the cookbook is $36, or $18 for a digital copy. For $72, you receive the book and a special ‘beteavon’ apron.
The online cookbook order form closes April 20, 2021
To pre-order, please see the link on our website.