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Nutfield News • March 10, 2011 Interfaith Campus Congregations Publish Cookbook


PENNY WILLIAMS NUTFIELD NEWS


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Etz Hayim Synagogue and the Episcopal Church of the Transfiguration form an Interfaith Campus on Hood Road, just off East Broad- way. The campus has been forged by the two congrega- tions, whose members have cooperated and collaborated for the last two decades in many ways. Now they have created “Recipes to Re- member - Elijah’s Table, An Interfaith Cookbook,” the latest example of their to- getherness. In 2007, the Rev. Sue


LeSeuer explained, “The interfaith campus envi- sioned by the congregations of Transfiguration and Etz Hayim, the relationship between the Jewish and the Christian congregations, can be a ‘model for the world how good and pleasant it is when (sisters and brothers) live together in unity.’” The relationship be- tween Etz Hayim and Transfiguration began in


1992 when a Jewish congre- gation was meeting in the Odd Fellows Hall, the origi- nal site of the Church of the Transfiguration. Etz Hayim, like Transfiguration before it, soon outgrew the build- ing, and because a warm relationship between the congregants of Etz Hayim and Transfiguration had already begun, the syna- gogue was invited to move into the


Transfiguration


church building in 1993. That building soon was affectionately called the “churchagogue.” Needing its own space, Etz Hayim explored land it owned elsewhere in Derry, but the site proved unsatis- factory. Transfiguration, how- ever, had built on five acres, and the two congregations arranged the sale of a por- tion of that land to Etz Hayim to build its syna- gogue, resulting in the phys- ical Interfaith Campus that now exists. Transfiguration and Etz


Hayim have shared space and ministry, studying, wor-


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shiping and celebrating together as well as jointly holding an interfaith sum- mer camp called Awesome Mountain and an annual interfaith Thanksgiving service. Now they are shar- ing the development of a single cookbook. The two congregations


work together to prepare the monthly Elijah’s Table free community meals - one at the synagogue, one at the church each month. The members of both congrega- tions share the duties of organizing, preparing and serving the meals, and from this effort came the idea to put together a cookbook spanning both congregations to use as a fundraising tool. Jill Pelunis of Etz Hayim has been spearheading the cookbook project, with Mimi Cagle from Trans- figuration assisting. They said they arrived at the name for the cookbook together because of the cooperative effort of putting on the free community meals that are called Elijah’s Table. Both congregations have been busy since late last summer digging up old family recipes, putting down on paper current family favorites, or agonizing over whether to allow a secret family recipe to be included. Cagle said none of the recipes has ever been printed before in any cookbook. All are original and most are


personal family recipes. The cookbook has 299 recipes in all.


The cookbook’s main meal recipes, Cagle said, are loosely organized by coun- try of origin. Pelunis said a section of Passover, Easter and other holiday recipes is included, with many of these including dietary require- ments.


Both women expressed sadness and regret that they had to cut the recipe history that accompanied many of the submissions. “We had no choice because of cost, but these were all so very interesting, we hated to have to do it,” Cagle said. “We chose the Interfaith Campus approach because we believed it would have far more appeal and because it is an adjunct to the din- ners,” Pelunis added. The book, which is


expected to be available in mid-April, sells for $18, a number with Hebrew signif- icance and interestingly the Oak Street address of the Odd Fellows Hall where both the church and the syn- agogue began. The proceeds from the cookbook will be split evenly between the two congregations. Cagle and Pelunis are


proud of the cookbook and say they think it will be a good fundraiser. They have ordered 300 copies to be published, but are hoping the


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Pictured is the book cover for “Recipes to Remember - Elijah’s Table, an Interfaith Cookbook,” which will be available in the spring. Proceeds from the sale of the book will be split evenly between Etz Hayim Synagogue and Church of the Transfiguration for such projects as free community meals.


Photo by Penny Williams


pre-order response will justi- fy increasing that number. Order forms are avail- able at both Transfiguration and Etz Hayim offices or at www.etzhayim.org. The collaboration of the


Etz Hayim and Tran- sfiguration congregations on


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yet another project contin- ues the strong influence the Interfaith Campus exerts because, “in an era of suspi- cion and hostility, this kind of example of how things could be is very powerful,” Rev. LeSeuer concluded.


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