A Culinary Tribute to Hope

Hostages' families release Shavuot cookbook to advocate for loved ones' freedom.



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In a poignant blend of culinary tradition and unyielding hope, the families of Israeli hostages currently held in Gaza have come together to release a special cookbook titled "Shavuot of Longing, Their Recipes on Our Table." According to The Times of Israel, this heartfelt collection of Shavuot holiday recipes is more than just a compilation of beloved dishes; it is a symbol of resilience, unity, and the enduring hope for the safe return of their loved ones.

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A cookbook with a mission
The cookbook, released by the Hostages Forum, features a variety of favorite Shavuot recipes contributed by the families of those held captive. From creamy cheesecakes to savory blintzes, each recipe is steeped in personal stories and cherished memories, reflecting the cultural and familial significance of the holiday. Shavuot, traditionally celebrated with dairy foods, represents a time of joy and community, making it a fitting backdrop for this unique fundraising initiative.

“Cookbooks are a way for all of us to get to know these people, and it’s a way for the families to tell a little bit more about their loved ones,” Orly Peli-Bronshtein, a local culinary influencer and cookbook author and editor of the Shavuot cookbook told The Times of Israel, adding, “It’s part of these crazy times. There are such emotions and sensitivities and you have to pay attention to all of it.”

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Connecting through shared traditions
For many families, food is a way to connect with loved ones, both near and far. By sharing these recipes, the families of the hostages aim to create a sense of togetherness and communal support, The Jewish Chronicle reports. Each dish in the cookbook carries with it a story of family gatherings, holiday celebrations, and the hope that those memories will one day be re-lived with their missing family members.

Peli-Bronshtein explained a recipe in the book for a unique and light cloud cheesecake that Hostage Omer Wenkert loved. “It’s an unusual cake because it’s very light but includes lots of different creams, and I tried it myself until we got it right,” she said.
A message of hope and unity
In the foreword of the cookbook, a representative from the Hostages Forum writes, "This book is a testament to the strength and spirit of our community. Through these recipes, we share not just our favorite foods, but our unwavering hope and determination. Each dish represents a bridge to our loved ones, a reminder that we are always thinking of them and working tirelessly for their return." The cookbook has already garnered widespread attention and support, with community members and public figures alike praising the initiative. It serves as a powerful reminder of the importance of solidarity and the enduring hope that sustains these families during such challenging times.

"Shavuot of Longing, Their Recipes on Our Table" is available through various online platforms and at community events organized by the Hostages Forum. Supporters can contribute to the ongoing efforts to bring the hostages home and also enjoy a taste of the rich culinary traditions that bind these families together. The proceeds from the cookbook sales are dedicated to supporting initiatives aimed at securing the freedom of those held captive in Gaza. These efforts include legal support, advocacy campaigns, and public awareness initiatives designed to keep the plight of the hostages in the public eye and to pressure relevant authorities to take action.

In these recipes, there is a message that transcends the boundaries of culture and geography: hope is a universal ingredient, and through unity and perseverance, even the most challenging situations can be faced with strength and grace.

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