The Jewish Week: Top Chefs, Humble Fare

High and low cuisine mix at a Masbia soup kitchen fundraiser on the Upper West Side.

Photos By Nora Wesson
Photos By Nora Wesson/JW


Alex Rapaport is the Soup Kitchen Tzaddik. The soft-spoken yet scrappy entrepreneur has built the Masbia soup kitchen into something of a righteous empire. He opened his third location earlier in the year, this one in Borough Park, and his staff serves two million meals a year to New York’s needy, Jews and non-Jews. “We’re a restaurant without a cash register,” Rapaport memorably put it. They serve up dignity, and they fill bellies, masbia being Hebrew for “satiate.” Word got out a couple of years ago; even People magazine stopped by.

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Tablet: Kosher Cooking Competition Raises Money to ‘Chop Hunger’

Masbia, a kosher food kitchen network in New York City that serves over 2 million meals to the needy every year, hosted an event at the Lincoln Square Synagogue to help raise awareness for its worthy cause

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CityBizList:New Yorkers Will Help Chop Hunger With Culinary Fundraiser

Chop Hunger: A Christian Ohio farmer and a half Japanese, half Mexican chef are coming together on the Upper West Side with several Kosher chefs from around the country to fight hunger.

The fundraiser to benefit Masbia Soup Kitchen Network, which will take place at Lincoln Square Synagogue on September 21, will feature a live cooking competition with secret ingredients intended to push the limits of Kosher cooking. (Hint: in preparation for the event Masbia organized a Kosher slaughter of exotic Kosher birds which was featured in the New York Times on July 27, 2016.)

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The Jewish Week Food and Wine: Charity Cook-Off To Raise Funds For Kosher Soup Kitchens

Katsuji Tanabe at Masbia. Facebook: Masbia Soup Kitchen Network

By Sahar Zivan

September 2, 2016

Chop Hunger, an upcoming culinary evening featuring a cook-off event modelled on the TV show "Chopped" promises to “push the limits of kosher cooking.” The event will include Farmer Lee Jones of Ohio and Mexican/Japanese kosher chef Katsuji Tanabe, and will take place at the Lincoln Square Synagogue on Amsterdam Avenue on September 21.

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Forward: Kosher Soup Kitchen Opening Was ‘Imminent’ — So What Happened?

August 17, 2016

By Liza Schoenfein

The new Boro Park location, at New Utrecht Avenue and 54th Street, has yet to open.

Courtesy of Masbia: The new Boro Park location, at New Utrecht Avenue and 54th Street, has yet to open.

“Not months, maybe not even weeks, maybe days,” he said then. “As soon as the place is basically set up — because we’re not going to play games with people’s lives.”

Six weeks later, the site has yet to open and Rapaport finds himself in the middle of a complicated situation.

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NYT: Campers Receive a Hands-On Lesson in the Tradition of Kosher Slaughter

Bentzion Zieda, a shochet, a Jewish slaughterer, demonstrated the kosher method of killing a bird on Tuesday to campers at Yagilu Wilderness in the Poconos. CreditSantiago Mejia/The New York Times


LAKEWOOD, Pa. — In the woods here on Tuesday, campers stood in a line holding quails, feeling their warm bodies and beating hearts in their hands.

“Guys, do not bond with your birds,” Hillie Ackerman, 16, a camper from Brooklyn, warned his friends.

The birds were about to be slaughtered.

One by one, the boys handed the quails to a shochet, a Jewish slaughterer, who took a knife, its sharpness tested earlier against his own fingernail, and sliced the birds’ necks.

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The Chef's Garden: Alexander Rapaport: Feeding the Hungry with Dignity and Respect

Alexander Rapaport is the Executive Director of Masbia Soup Kitchen in New York City. The goal of Masbia's four kitchens is to serve hungry people free meals each day with a focus on dignity and respect. Masbia's mission is to eliminate the bureaucracy and red tape that is often associated with soup kitchens in order to provide an experience for their guests that makes them feel empowered and supported.

Mr. Rapaport's presentation at our Roots Conference in 2014 delivered a powerful reminder to attendees that America's hunger crisis is real and also offered ideas for how to make a tangible difference in their own working lives.

Lee Jones was so inspired by the work of Mr. Rapaport and the mission of Masbia that The Chef's Garden provides fresh vegetables to their soup kitchens in the hope that in some small way, our products will put a smile on the faces of the people Masbia serves. 

Farmer Lee and Alexander Rapaport

Alliances like this and the solidarity between The Chef's Garden and Masbia is what Roots is all about. 

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Forward: Brooklyn Soup Kitchen to Serve Meals for the Hungry on Fine Hollywood China

June 30, 2016
Alexander Rapaport: Masbia chef Ruben Diaz (left) receiving the fine china from Tammy Carmona of Carmona New York.

What do Brooklyn’s poorest residents have in common with the guests at Bella and Edward’s wedding in the popular vampire movie The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn — Part 1?

They could soon find themselves eating off the elegant dinnerware featured at the fictional wedding reception.

Masbia Soup Kitchen Network, a project to alleviate hunger among New York’s poor, has been seeking donations of money and kitchen equipment as it prepares to open at a new location in the heavily Orthodox Brooklyn neighborhood of Boro Park.

Enter: Tammy Carmona, a party planner and creative whirlwind, who owns a Brooklyn-based tabletop company called Carmona New York. Carmona responded to Masbia’s plea on Facebook for almost 200 items it was still lacking for the new facility.

“Talk to me about dishes,” Carmona messaged the group.

Alexander Rapaport, Masbia’s executive director and co-founder (with Mordechai Mandelbaum), quickly got in touch, and a week later acquired 250 place settings of a pattern called Twilight, which Carmona designed for the vampire movie. She values her donation at more than $15,000. (Oprah Winfrey named Carmona dinnerware one of her favorite things of 2013.)

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The Jewish Press: Masbia To Reopen Facility In Boro Park with Crowdfunding Campaign

Chef Ruben Diaz standing outside of the new Masbia facility in Boro ParkChef Ruben Diaz standing outside of the new Masbia facility in Boro Park Photo Credit: Masbia

Brooklyn, NY – June 7, 2016 — Renowned for their kosher soup kitchens that have served millions of meals to the hungry and the needy, Masbia will be reopening in Boro Park, this time with a centrally located facility that will enhance its services in many ways.

Situated just one block from the Shomrei Shabbos 24 hour synagogue at 5402 New Utrecht Avenue, the new Masbia facility will continue to fulfill the mission begun by Alexander Rapaport and Mordechai Mandelbaum in 2005, serving nutritious, filling meals with the utmost dignity. Catering largely but not exclusively to the area’s significant Chasidic population, the soup kitchen will be open late hours to accommodate the lifestyle of area residents.

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JP Updates: Masbia Soup Kitchen Set to Open in Borough Park

June 6, 2016
by Menachem Rephun
Masbia Soup Kitchen Set to Open in Borough Park

The Masbia soup kitchen will be reopening in Borough Park, now with a centrally located facility enhancing its services.

The facility will be located a block from the Shomrei Shabbos 24-hour synagogue at 5402 New Utrecht Avenue and will cater largely but not exclusively to the area’s Chasidic population.

“We have found that in the Chassidic community in general and in Boro Park in particular that people struggle with the decision of bringing their family for a meal, often not bringing themselves to it until the desperation peaks, which is usually at bedtime for their kids,” Alexander Rapaport, executive director of Masbia, said in a press release.

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