Friday, August 14, 2020


To help busy families prepare for Shabbat, WDS and WSD reached out to more than 70 communities including Westchester, Riverdale, Stamford and NYC to help create a cookbook for the future, “Instant Shabbat—Easy Recipes for Busy People.” For working parents who have kids with lots of weekday extracurricular activities and homework assignments, in addition to shul and community meetings, this cookbook wants to answer the question, “How do you do it all?” when you want to invite guests for Shabbat and enjoy some really good food. Launched on August 16, an email campaign will reach out to WDS and WSD current and alumni parents, students, campers, staff members and grandparents and all those for whom celebrating Shabbat with family and friends adds to their appreciation of rich Jewish traditions. 

And there’s more: According to Lauren Kaplan, curriculum coordinator at WDS, the goal is to create community building on all levels, by integrating the creation of the cookbook into the classroom, with children participing across all grades, with recipe testing (yum!) and learning about measurements and other math-related topics, as well as developing transcribing and editing skills.

Not only will this fun project ask people to submit their best (and easiest) recipes, but the book will be distinguished by go-to recipes that work, with life hacks and tricks to make Shabbat meals happen easily, and will answer questions such as, “How much food is really enough and what’s too much?” or “What should be included on the kids’ food table checklist?” and “How many hours should it really take to prepare a Shabbat meal for 10-12 people?” Submitted recipes will feature bios and fun and unique information such as job information, children’s activities and the time of day (or night) you shop and cook. Recipe testing will gather people together, in various locations, as people meet other testers who love food, love WDS and WSD and want to create a community cookbook for this and future generations.

Established in September 1948, on the shores of the Long Island Sound, with 54 boys and girls in kindergarten through grade four, WDS is a Modern Orthodox day school whose first headmaster was S. Maurice Plotnick, a Cambridge-educated mathematician and Hebrew scholar. With a current student body of over 400 students, Rabbi Joshua Lookstein serves as head of school and Rachel Goldman is the executive director.

To celebrate the school’s 50th anniversary, the iconic cookbook, “Cooking on the Orienta Express—Fifty Years of Cooking with the Westchester Day School PTA” was the go-to cookbook of the 1990s. Now, as WDS celebrates more than 71 years since its founding, a newer, compelling cookbook is needed. In the same way that WDS reaches into the future with innovative programming to encourage children’s success in school, the community is invited to create a cookbook that will fulfill the desire to entertain on Shabbat, with sumptuous meals and creative ideas, in a way that resonates with today’s young families.  “Instant Shabbat—Easy Recipes for Busy People” will make Shabbat more fun and meaningful for both adults and children.

As the cookbook reaches more people and recipes are submitted, bonus recipes will be posted.  Not only will the cookbook crew be requesting recipes, but help will be needed with web and graphic design, content writers, editors, food photographers, social media management, PR, fundraisers etc. 

The recipe collection period is open for another few weeks. So the cookbook committee asks that anyone affiliated with WDS/WSD and other friends, as well, please submit recipes as soon as possible at Recipes need not be original. Additional information can be found by going to:  or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

By Yvette Finkelstein



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