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Members of Metro Detroit sisterhoods recently had the chance to “explore the delicate balance between life and food” at a social evening created especially for them by the Central Great Lakes Region of the Women’s League of Conservative Judaism.

Area Director and Vice President Robin Lash spoke with Region President Edna Schrank about arranging a joint sisterhood event in Metro Detroit after an absence of several years. Then Lash brainstormed with her friend Fran Hildebrandt, the region’s Torah Fund vice president, to plan something fun.

“We discussed different ideas,” said Lash, immediate past president of Congregation Shaarey Zedek Sisterhood in Southfield. “What would attract women from all of our Detroit sisterhoods and bring them together for a night?”

Hildebrandt, a former sisterhood president at Congregation Beth Shalom in Oak Park, designed a cute “It’s a Balancing Act” flyer.

In spite of high winds that knocked out thousands of powerlines on March 8, 42 sisterhood women came for a kosher cooking demo in Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital’s Demonstration Kitchen. They also toured the hospital’s free-standing greenhouse.

The largest contingent was 10 women from Congregation B’nai Moshe in West Bloomfield. One member, Betsy Leib Ragowsky, was impressed with “the energetic and engaging personality” of Chef Hunny Khodorkovsky of Epic Kosher Catering as well as the opportunity to “sample the chef’s creative and user-friendly recipes.”

It was a pleasant surprise for participant Sharon Moss Lebovic of Adat Shalom Synagogue in Farmington Hills to get the recipe and another chance to eat Chef Hunny’s main entree of salmon over ancient grains salad. The chef prepared the dish earlier that day for Moss’ Roosevelt Hadassah group luncheon at Soul Cafe in West Bloomfield.

Sandy Schwartz of Congregation Shaarey Zedek plans to prepare Chef Hunny’s pavlova (meringue) recipe, saying two days after the event, “I have already bought the vanilla paste.”

Under the direction of “Farmer Trevor,” the greenhouse produces a variety of produce utilized in the hospital’s Henry’s Cafe. Items include kale, Swiss chard, chives, parsley, rosemary, lavender, stevia, mint and microgreens. The sisterhood women were encouraged to nibble on some of the crops.

“I loved the garden tour,” said Pearlena Bodzin of Congrgation B’nai Moshe. “Who knew there was a natural garden as part of the hospital?”

With socialization the primary goal of the evening, Leib Ragowski said she “enjoyed the opportunity to connect” with sisterhood members from other synagogues.

Bodzin, Moss Lebovic and Hildebrandt also spoke to members of other sisterhoods, often women they knew but hadn’t seen lately.

Women happy about the event have asked Lash, “Can’t we do this a little more often?”

She’s considering something for this summer if the various sisterhoods get involved in the planning.

Lash encourages women of all ages to participate in their synagogue sisterhoods. They’re where “women form long-lasting friendships that they may not have had prior to belonging … It’s true for me.”

Esther Allweiss Ingber Contributing Writer

Pearlena Bodzin of Congregation B’nai Moshe and Joyce Weingarten of Adat Shalom Synagogue
Robin Beth Lash, area vice president, Central Lakes Region, Betsy Leib Ragowsky and Sheryl Victor, both of Congregation B’nai Moshe, and Sharon Moss Lebovic of Adat Shalom Synagogue
The women enjoy a cooking demonstration
The evening included a tour of the greenhouse
Gayle Bialick, Fran Hildebrandt, Bobbie Lewis, Susan Friedman and Susan Cohen, all of Cong. Beth Shalom

Robin Beth Lash, area vice president, Central Lakes Region, Betsy Leib Ragowsky and Sheryl Victor, both of Congregation B’nai Moshe, and Sharon Moss Lebovic of Adat Shalom Synagogue

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