HLS Students Try Israeli Cooking

Rada Roda lightly punches air bubbles into a large piece of dough in the kitchen of an off-campus apartment, as several Harvard graduate students inhale the scents of garlic and paprika and watch her actions intently. She is making laffah, or Israeli pita bread. Her restaurant, Jerusalem Pita and Grill sells about 300 laffah a day.

Last night the Harvard Law School Alliance for Israel and the regional chapter of the World Zionist Organization sponsored an Israeli cooking class, and brought in Roda to help teach the group of graduate students the secrets of making traditional Israeli cuisine.

Roda, who lived in Israel for eight years, brought these culinary traditions with her to Cambridge.

“In Israel, you eat the egg half cooked,” she said.

While the group did not consume raw eggs, they did make hummus, tahini, laffah, and shakshuka—an originally Algerian dish consisting of a spiced tomato mixture with poached eggs inside.

Roda also demonstrated how to prepare more creative Israeli food such as “humshuka”—a mix of shakshuka and hummus.

“I made it up,” Roda said. “I am sure they have it in Israel because there is always something new you can do with hummus and shakshuka. I even make hummus cookies!”

Despite being the Alliance’s first cooking event, Treasurer Daria A. Barkai said it was successful. The Alliance purposely capped the event so that people could talk and get to know each other and also because, as Barkai pointed out, “my apartment is only so large.”

Jhoshua W. Friedman ’08, President of the Alliance, said the event was held as a way for students to get together and have fun.

Law student Eden Schiffmann said he attended because, “it seemed like a good opportunity to engage in Israeli culture on campus.”

Eliane Dreyfuss, regional director for the World Zionist Organization agreed.

“Food is just a way to tell the story of the Jewish journey from Israel to other countries and back to Israel,” she said.

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