Connect to...300 Hamantaschen

Can you imagine 13 Jewish cooks in one kitchen agreeing to make a recipe? That’s exactly what happened in the JCC kitchen when Engage volunteers gathered to make 300+ mini hamantaschen for the Purim party at the Jewish Community House of Bensonhurst.

“Don’t panic. Everything is going to be alright,” shouts out Emily Klein, the cooking teacher for this project, as she moves among the volunteers who are mixing, kneading, and shaping the dough for these traditional Purim treats. Her sense of humor and ability to encourage everybody’s efforts keeps the assembly line moving in an atmosphere of cheerfully controlled chaos with everybody rolling up their sleeves to pitch in. Deborah Brandt, working at a table with Carol Mills, said, “As a Jewish woman, I felt I should make hamantaschen at least once in my lifetime.” “Never in my kitchen, but I am happy to mess up somebody else’s,” Carol Mills added.

This is an encore event for the Engage volunteers who have converged in the JCC kitchen. Their maiden voyage in volunteering at the Community House was to make over 300 potato latkes for the Chanukah party in a primarily Russian community in Brooklyn. What keeps these volunteers coming back? Aside from the sense of connection and community, they all expressed that they want to make a difference in the lives of others.

“Our families, staff, volunteers, and children loved the activity and all the Engage volunteers made a huge impact…” wrote Violetta Shmulenzon, Director of Program Services at JCH Bensonhurst, in a thank you letter to Director of Engage Rabbi Brian Fink and the volunteer group, led by Hindy Kisch.

If you would like to learn more or participate in future celebrations, please contact Hindy Kisch at