Last week Jewish Care, Jami, Norwood, UJIA and GIFT hosted their first ever cross-communal event, which saw over 200 sign-ups for a virtual masterclass led by Chef Yossi Elad, founder of the popular Israeli eatery, the Palomar, raising over £11,000 of much needed funds.

After a tough year of forced separation, and as we celebrated the Jewish New Year, hitting refresh on all that has been this past year,  5 young professional committees, led by For Starters’ founder, Lauren Fried, joined up to bring Jewish people together and to raise money for a variety of important causes.

Having led a successful charity event for the South African Jewish community, Lauren believed there was no better time to bring the young professionals of the UK together. When planning began in summer, lockdown limitations were continuing to change and the decision was made to create a virtual cooking class. Gabi Mendelsohn (Young Jami); Shelley Cukier (Young UJIA); Daniel Lehman (Young Jewish Care); James Goodman (Young Norwood) and Rael Chapman (Young GIFT),  representing their respective young committees, united for the first time to raise funds for their organisations, with match funding going towards feeding the vulnerable in our communitythrough GIFT in the UK and Leket in Israel.

The event was kicked off by Gabi Mendelson who explained “it was amazing to be part of this young professionals’ cross-communal event and to see the amazing things we can do when we come together.”

Chef Yossi, live from his kitchen in Jaffa, said he was “delighted to welcome people into my home”, and wished the audience of all ages multiple “Lechaims”, as he guided them through his bespoke recipe to create a honey cake with a difference.

Rabbi Sands Milun, MD of GIFT thanked everyone for taking part in “a beautiful collaboration between a number of wonderful organisations, driven forward and executed by young professionals”, and explained how beneficial the money raised from this event would be, given the rising demands from within our community.

Lauren noted that “it was wonderful to see the organisations signing up to a cross-communal event and truly inspiring to work with the leaders of their young divisions – the future of our community is in good hands!” Speaking for all involved, she added “We hope this is the first of many collaborations, and look forward to hosting more events like this one in future, together with other organisations, and maybe even in person one day!” 

Shelley commented “Having taken on the role of co-Chair of Y-UJIA over the summer, there was a worry around how we could engage people within a pandemic. This event proved the power of young professionals no matter the circumstances and showed the drive they have to raise funds for vital causes they believe in. It was a pleasure to work alongside fellow young professional committees because we will always be stronger as one unit of Jewish Young People and professionals and it has kicked off an exciting year of events to bring young Jews together to increase awareness as well as raise money for the huge variety of outstanding projects UJIA support”