Recipe for kindness
By Deb Silverthorn
While many in the community suffered outages last week, the lights were lit at Dallas’ Kosher Palate, where owners Chaim and Miriam Goldfeder and a team of caring employees coordinated meals from DFW and beyond.
“No one needs to go hungry, and a hot meal and a little love go a long way when it’s cold outside and even darker inside,” said Chaim Goldfeder, who had nearly 50 people huddled in his home the first days of the storm. “Food is my love language and it’s how we can take care of our people.”
On Feb. 16, 500 meals were distributed at Kosher Palate, congregations Ohev Shalom and Shaare Tefilla and DATA of Plano. The number of meals rose to 1,000 Wednesday-Friday of last week at those locations and the Sephardic Torah Center of Dallas. On Friday, another 1,000 Shabbat meals for Saturday were distributed, and Sunday, Kosher Palate hosted a free hot dog and fries party.
The Goldfeders received financial support from thousands who participated in a GoFundMe effort, raising $32,702 (at deadline) and an allocation to the project by the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas and the Dallas Jewish Community Foundation.
“My home had power, and we too had four families staying with us (all COVID-19 recovered and/or vaccinated), but The Market was without for eight days,” said The Market’s co-owner Jordona Kohn. “I saw what Chaim and Miriam were doing — what they always do and that’s to step forth — and so I was proud to share it to the Great Kosher Restaurant Foodies Facebook page, with almost 60,000 followers, and people around the country wanted to help.”
Donations of time, as necessary as dollars, came from other local eateries. Kohn and Simcha Kosher Catering’s Lowell Michelson, along with many of their staffers, helped in the kitchen and throughout the process. In addition, Eli Kalazan and Shalom Sokol of the Bikur Cholim of Lakewood, New Jersey, drove 22 hours with a truckload of food — schnitzel, gefilte fish, taco meat and more. And Yosef Mutterperl, the former owner of that city’s Southside Sandwich Shop and Smokehouse, flew in to help with the cause.
“Chaim and I clicked on the barbecue circuit about seven years ago and he is one of the greatest mensches I’ve ever met,” Mutterperl said. “When Hurricane Harvey came about in Houston, I closed my store and, together with a lot of other hands, we made about 10,000 meals happen. Dallas needed help now, so here I am,” said Mutterperl, who arrived Thursday and headed straight to the kitchen, returning home Sunday evening. “It was a humbling and rewarding experience and the smiles we received — those are the best reward.”
With more than enough money raised by the GoFundMe campaign, Goldfeder shared funds to Chabad of Austin, where Rebbetzin Rochel and Rabbi Yosef Levertov lead a community. Their own facility was spared weather-related outages and damage, and so the couple reached out to the community to serve meals.
“The roads were terrible, but we had so many who needed help and we appreciate Chaim’s outreach. We had a family here for a planned stay of a day that turned into a week without food and others who didn’t even have water. In 2021 to hear someone say they need water — it’s hard to hear,” said Rochel Levertov, who with her husband directs Chabad of Austin. “Social media connected us to people all over the area, and helpers — Jewish and not — made it possible to help those sitting in the cold and dark.”
Kosher Palate continues to serve plumbers and electricians who came from out of town to provide services as well as locals in need whose homes aren’t available for them to cook, and funds left from the GoFundMe will support families going forward and into Passover, just four weeks away.
The Market has similarly set up a relief sponsorship fund to help those affected by the storms. Those needing meals while homes are under repair, or just a place to sit and recharge, are welcome.
“For some families, it’s hard to make a holiday meal and that’s before you weigh in crisis, upon crisis, upon crisis,” Goldfeder said. “Whatever we can do to help our community, is what we will continue to do and that will always be our priority.”
Donations are welcome to support the help of Kosher Palate (gofundme.com/f/hot-meals-for-texas) and The Market (tinyurl.com/The-Market-Comfort-Kindness).