Israeli chefs cook up Syrian dishes to help refugees
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Israeli chefs cook up Syrian dishes to help refugees

In Kitchens Without Borders, a Tel Aviv restaurateur creates a simple way to get money to those in need

Jessica Steinberg covers the Sabra scene from south to north and back to the center.

A fish and tabouleh kebab at Da Da & Da, created for the two weeks of Kitchen Without Borders, in support of Syrian refugees (Courtesy Kitchen Without Borders)
A fish and tabouleh kebab at Da Da & Da, created for the two weeks of Kitchen Without Borders, in support of Syrian refugees (Courtesy Kitchen Without Borders)

When Tel Aviv restaurateur and bar owner Yair Yosefi wanted to do something about the dire situation of Syrian refugees, he turned to food.

Yosefi, the owner of Nahalat Binyamin restaurant Brut and bar Extra Brut, went to his friend the food journalist Ronit Vered, and the two cooked up Kitchen Without Borders, an effort to draw attention to, and raise money for, Syrian refugees.

“It’s very simple,” said Yosefi. “You see what’s going on there. We care — it’s not complicated.”

The two foodies contacted restaurants around the country, with a heavy emphasis on Tel Aviv, and asked them to create a special dish inspired by the Syrian kitchen to be served from January 15 to 31. All proceeds from the sale of that dish go to the Karam Foundation, a US-based organization that helps Syrian refugee youth.

The foundation was confused at first, said Yosefi, wondering why Israeli restaurants were getting involved, “but now they love the idea,” he said.

A boureka inspired by the Syrian kitchen at Onza in Tel Aviv (Courtesy Kitchens Without Borders)
Bourekas inspired by the Syrian kitchen at Onza in Tel Aviv (Courtesy Kitchens Without Borders)

The participating restaurants, both kosher and nonkosher, are serving everything from cheese bourekas and cauliflower leaves stuffed with freekah to sahlab sprinkled with pistachios and pomegranate sauce, almond arak, and grilled lamb served with chickpea pate.

“It’s just about doing something,” said Yosefi. “It’s hard not doing anything when kids are out in the freezing cold, not having gone to school for two years.”

A full list of the restaurants participating in Kitchen Without Borders, through January 31, is available in Hebrew on Facebook.

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