Hillel sponsored a kosher cooking class two nights ago. Bwog’s Chief Culinary Correspondent Catie Lynch was there.

The vegetarian aspect of Wednesday night’s three-course kosher dinner was largely economic, it was admitted. But rabbinical intern Dina Rosenberg said said she also wanted to be inclusive of everyone’s dietary needs. “Food blends the barriers of Judaism,” Rosenberg explained as she ushered trays of breaded eggplant into the oven. “We have secular, reform, and orthodox students here tonight. It allows us to do something as a community, as well as give something back to the community.”

This group of nutrition-savvy students from Columbia, JTS, and Barnard gathered in Goldsmith Residence Hall to learn how to make a kosher dinner. The event was aimed at encouraging a dialogue about mindful eating. Rosenberg was inspired by the Hazon Food Conference, which she attended last year. The conference appeals to the interests and ethics of a range of foodies from the Jewish faith, and discusses the relationship between modern culinary trends and traditional Jewish dietary guidelines. The meal consisted of tomato rice soup, eggplant parmigiana, and parve chocolate mousse pie. Students tripled and quadrupled the recipes in order to donate the majority of the food to the B’nai Jeshurun Synagogue shelter on 88th Street.

Ideally, Rosenberg would like to make the event a monthly occasion. It’s difficult to acquire funds for new events when the budget has already been decided; last Wednesday’s dinner was the result of a lot of community cooperation. Next year, though, Rosenberg hopes to work with Barnard/Columbia Hillel to make the cooking class a regular activity, and further explore the connection between Jewish tradition, mindful nourishment, and sustainable eating practices.

Pareve Chocolate Mousse

Serves 6-8


– 1 pound silken tofu (3.75 pieces)

– ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder

– 1 cup white sugar

– 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

– ½ teaspoon cider vinegar

– 1 (9 inch) prepared graham cracker crust


1. Preheat over to 375 degrees F

2. Blend tofu with an electric mixer or in a food processor until smooth. Blend in cocoa, sugar, vanilla, and vinegar. Pour into prepared crust.

3. Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes.

4. Refrigerate for 1 hour before serving

TIP: This is a great dessert that can be made 1-3 days in advance.