Festival of Arts, Books & Culture

November 28, 2023 @ 10:30 am
Katz JCC
$8 Members, $10 Non-Member
Brian Adler
609-822-1167 Ext. 159

Zoe Zak

@zoe.b.zak (FB) / @zoebzak (Instagram)

The Cook and the Rab­bi: Recipes and Sto­ries to Cel­e­brate the Jew­ish Holidays

A deli­cious explo­ration of the Jew­ish hol­i­days, with illu­mi­nat­ing con­ver­sa­tions and meals shared by friends: a rab­bi and a cook.

For many belong­ing to the Jew­ish dias­po­ra, under­stand­ing the hol­i­days means light­ing a meno­rah for Chanukah, maybe host­ing a seder dur­ing Passover. But, if cel­e­brat­ed with an under­stand­ing of the sto­ried cus­toms behind the fes­tiv­i­ties, these occa­sions can be so much more than can­dles and matzah. Fol­low­ing the luniso­lar cal­en­dar, James Beard Award-win­ning author Susan Simon and Rab­bi Zoe Zak devote a chap­ter to each of the four­teen hol­i­days. From Seli­chot to Rosh Hashanah, Purim to Pesach, every hol­i­day has his­to­ry, inter­pre­ta­tion, and foods, with kosher recipes that reimag­ine tra­di­tion­al dish­es with flair.

More than a cook­book, The Cook and the Rab­bi is a tes­ta­ment to the resilient ver­sa­til­i­ty of the Jew­ish peo­ple and their tra­di­tions. With Rab­bi Zoe’s thought­ful insight and Susan’s inspired recipes, there’s no end to the ways you might cel­e­brate the hol­i­days and make your per­son­al rela­tion­ship with them uplift­ing, inspir­ing, and deeply ful­fill­ing. Chag Sameach!


About the Author:

Zoe B Zak has served as the rabbi of Temple Israel of Catskill in Catskill, NY since 2012. She is well matched to her warm, out-reaching community of congregants, being a person with a great heart and a passion for service to others. Together Rabbi Zoe and her congregation have created a welcoming home for all, including families of special needs children.  Every congregant is included, respected and given a chance to participate at services and other celebrations.

Since 2015 Rabbi Zoe has acted as Outreach Chaplain for Jewish Federation of Northeastern NY.  In this capacity, she visits Jewish residents and offers holiday celebrations at nursing homes and assisted living facilities in Greene County and part of Columbia County.

Rabbi Zoe has been a member of The Greater Kingston Chevra Kadisha since 1998 and Vice President of The Board of Directors since 2017. This organization is devoted to preparing the bodies of those who have passed away for Jewish burial.


Rabbi Zoe co-leads The Peace Ensemble, an Interfaith Initiative whose mission is to spread peace through music.  Fellow musicians include Pastor Everett Newton, Hazzan Michael Kasper and Robert Bard. She is an active member of The Greene County Interfaith Community and The Greenville Area Interfaith Council.