A group of Jerusalem go-getters braved the cold and came together for a fun night of homemade challah, pumpkin and coconut cream soup, and maqluba in the city center of Jerusalem on January 27th.


Casey Girard

Tell us a bit about yourself!

I was born in LA, grew up in England, and moved to the States after college. I worked at AIPAC for 11 years, and I moved to Jerusalem six weeks ago. I now work at Ruach Chadasha where I do resource development and communications. I help to raise money so that we can do incredible programming and build creative communities which will transform Jerusalem.

Why Jerusalem?

I feel most alive here in Jerusalem. It challenges me to think about what I want to do in this world, and gives me opportunities to create change.

Why Shalom al Lechem?

I wanted to be a part of this project because I love hosting, and I love being able to bring people together on Shabbat. It is a good , healthy and soulful break from the week

What are your hobbies?

Play with dogs. Take photos. I also like to cook.

Avital Blass

Tell us a bit about yourself!

I have lived in Jerusalem for about 8 years. I now work with designers at Ruach Chadasha. I am originally from Neve Tzuf, and came here to Jerusalem when I started studying at Hebrew U.

Why Jerusalem?

I spent a year in Sweden before I moved here, I did shlichut at Bnai Akiva, and I really missed Jerusalem. When I felt homesick to Israel, I felt homesick to Jerusalem. I dreamed that I was walking around the streets here. I truly feel that it is my home.

Why Shalom al Lechem?

I love the way Udi cooks! I used to be a chef for Shalom al Lechem. It is a great project that is so much fun– an opportunity to spend time with friends I like but also meet new people. At our meal, we  will have a great mix of olim, Israelis, religious, and secular guests.

What are your hobbies?

I am a pastry chef, and also like to dance, run, do yoga, and read.


Hosting tip #1:

Mix up the seating! Encourage people to meet new friends with a seating arrangement or pattern (Israel/Oleh/Israeli etc.)

Hosting tip #2:

If you want to break the ice when the first guests arrive, feel free to have them help you set the final touches on the table! Let them help you put out glasses, napkins, etc.


Special Mulled Wine

Casey’s mother used to prepare this spicy mulled wine during special occasions, and especially in the winter time in England. The brandy and ginger are the key ingredients that make the flavor pop.

Mix together a bottle of red wine, half a bottle of apple juice, and brandy.

Cut up 3 oranges into small pieces.

Add the oranges, cloves, cinnamon, and ginger (to taste!).

Bring to a simmer.

Serve hot!





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© 2016 Jerusalem Village
Programs are sponsored for young adults ages 22-35.
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