The Shabbat Meal Program launched in March, 2020. The goal was simple: provide a delicious meal and a friendly face to isolated and/or first responder members of Bet Torah, and a means of support for beloved community member, Chef Rene Leon.

The program became an instant lifeline. Delivering a Shabbat dinner proved to be a critical connection point at a time when people needed it most and provided a sense of doing something – anything – to those who were looking to help.

The response was surprising and powerful: the program also delivered love, connection, community, security, and identity. In the midst of a community effort, it quickly became about the individual. Each person’s day-to-day realities and routines. Circumstances. Spirituality. Struggles. Connection to Judaisim. To Bet Torah.

This video project captures the voices and perspectives of the folks who make this program about so much more than food – the recipients, volunteers, donors and other community members, like you. Their stories and perspectives are shared in part below.


Click to listen to Susan talk about being a regular donor.

Susan Cohen Silberman


Susan was motivated to participate after seeing how isolating it was for her parents when their assisted living dining room closed during quarantine. “Isolation is one of the hardest things we’ve been dealing with. Their only lifeline is getting their meals delivered. And kind word, and talk for a few minutes just made their whole day so much better. This program is about saying ‘I care about you. You are important to me.'”

Click to hear Merle sing Shalom Alechem.

Merle Winokur


Merle welcomes us into her home for her 80th birthday to share her Sabbath table set in preparation for Rene’s “amazing meal. Each thing is so delicious! And I’m so little I get two meals out of each one and it helps me a lot financially… you all are such a blessing to me.” Listen as Merle sings Shalom Alechem. Join Merle as “the Jewishness comes through my door.”

Click to hear Debbie talk about delivering to Merle.

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Debbie was looking for a way to be involved during the pandemic, when she learned of the meal delivery program. She was so thrilled to discover that her partner was Merle, who she new from services only as the woman with the jaunty chapeau. Their friendship has blossomed as Debbie helps Merle welcome Shabbat each week.

Click to hear Jodi talk about how Shabbat meal delivery went from contactless delivery to Torah study.

Jodi Robin


Jodi Robin delivers to Mark and Gloria Koller. What started as a way to ease her feelings of helplessness has become a Pandemic gift. Conversations with Mark over coping through isolation, family and Torah extended beyond their Fridays to include her family and Torah study.


This spirit of community and engagement affects all of us who are directly involved, and indirectly strengthens and provides a sense of security for the entire Bet Torah community. The warmth and human connections make this about so much more than food.

Please support the program and donate today.

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