(New York Jewish Week) — Hanukkah begins Sunday, Dec. 18, at sundown, and, for most American Jews, that means it’s time for latkes, that delicious, crispy fried potato pancake.
Of course, when it comes to Hanukkah treats, there are other options, too, especially sufganiyot (singular: sufganiyah), the deep-fried doughnuts inspired by the Hanukah miracle of the oil lamp. These fried goodies are most typically filled with strawberry jam, and they’re readily available at many bakeries and kosher food stores across the city.
However, in this great city of ours, there’s no need to stop with the classic! In recent years, New York pastry chefs have upped their Hanukkah game and are getting uber creative with the flavors and fillings of their Hanukkah jelly doughnuts and fresh approaches to other Hanukkah treats.
Perhaps they are looking over their shoulders at the frenzy of creativity that overtakes Israeli bakeries in the weeks leading up to Hanukkah. Bakeries there sell a staggering 20 million or so sufganiyot each year during the Festival of Lights. Some of these are simple jelly doughnuts, while others are veritable works of art, filled with creative concoctions ranging from passion fruit cream to wild berry mascarpone and topped with flavored whipped creams, crispy cherries, pistachio glaze and more.
When it comes to sufganiyot, New York may not have reached Israeli-style innovation — yet. But if you want to venture beyond fried potato pancakes this year, you’re in luck: From unique collaborations between chefs and bakers (latke-inspired doughnuts, anyone?) to tropical flavors, the following eight bakeries and restaurants are churning out extra-special Hanukkah treats this year.
611 Hudson Street, West Village
If you like to go out for your holiday celebration, Israeli-born Chef Einat Admony is preparing a special Hanukkah dessert at her flagship restaurant Balaboosta: the Moroccan doughnut, sfenj, will be on the menu all eight days of the holiday. Her take on the fried pastry is flavored with the anise-flavored spirit Arak, grapefruit zest and juice. You get four to five sfenj with your order. $15 per serving.
Locations in Union Square, Rockefeller Center, Lincoln Center, Upper East Side and Bryant Park Kiosk
From Dec. 15 through Dec. 27, Breads will be serving the classic strawberry jam-filled sufganiyah. But you can also choose passion fruit jam, vanilla cream and chocolate cream fillings ($3.65 each; $37 for a dozen). Yes, fresh latkes ($2.95) are also on offer, but if you’d really like to try something different, for the month of December Breads is featuring a bialy babka ($16.95), a savory combination of babka dough with bialy-inspired fried onions and poppyseeds.
Locations in Brooklyn, Upper East Side, Upper West Side and Westchester
No gluten, no oil, no problem! At this kosher bakery, you can get a dairy- and gluten-free doughnut to mark the holiday — what’s more, it’s baked, not fried. The baking, according to By the Way’s Nazli Sarpkaya, “gives the doughnuts a lighter and more tender texture.” The doughnuts ($3.50 each, $30 for nine) are filled with raspberry jam. Retail locations are supervised by Rabbi Aaron Mehlman of National Kosher Supervision.
Two locations in Williamsburg, Brooklyn: 312 Leonard St. and 495 Lorimer St.
For Hanukkah, Edith’s, a new kid on the Brooklyn food block, is spotlighting a special “collabonut,” as owner Elyssa Heller calls them: sanded sugar doughnuts from Greenpoint institution Peter Pan Donut & Pastry filled with Edith’s grape jelly, homemade from juicy Concord grapes and thick, rich Manischewitz wine. Heller told the New York Jewish Week she landed on Concord grape as this year’s flavor because it was the taste of her childhood, and because grape juice and wine play an important role in Jewish rituals. Six doughnuts for $28.75; preorder is available for nights 1 and 2 only, Dec. 18 and 19. Single doughnuts available in-store all eight days for $4.75 each. Be sure to check out Edith’s unique rectangular latke while you’re there!
448 Lafayette Avenue, Clinton Hill, Brooklyn
Creativity knows no bounds at Fany Gerson’s doughnut hub. This year, Gerson and team are collaborating with 13(!) of Fan Fan’s favorite bakers and pastry chefs to come up with a Baker’s Dozen Holiday Box ($75) filled with innovative sufganiyot. Among the bakers: Caroline Schiff, the executive pastry chef at historic steakhouse Gage & Tollner, who created a latke doughnut (filled with apple butter, topped with a sour cream glaze and homemade cinnamon-dusted potato chips) and Umber Ahmad of Mah-Ze-Dahr, who contributed a vanilla bean, cardamom and rose doughnut to the lineup. Preorders available.
Two locations: 115A Division St. on the Lower East Side and 401 East 90th St. on the Upper East Side
Israeli Adir Michaeli, former head baker at Breads and the founder and owner of Michaeli Bakery, opened a second location this year — this one on the Upper East Side. Michaeli is having fun with his fillings, which range from the classic strawberry jam to cream fillings in flavors like hazelnut, pistachio, banana-pecan, dulce de leche and vanilla-chocolate. He is also preparing sfenj, a vegan Moroccan fried doughnut, coated in sugar. Prices range between $4 to $5 each; available from Dec. 18 to 26. International Kosher Council certification.
7-22 13th St., Long Island City, Queens
This kosher bakery and eatery no longer has a storefront, but they do have an extensive menu of Hanukkah foods that can be picked up at their commissary in Long Island City or delivered to your door. They have raspberry or apricot sufganiyot — available in regular size or mini — but for something a little different you can also try Hanukkah-themed cupcakes, sugar cookies (in the shape of a dreidel or a Hanukkah menorah) and cakes. Pick up and delivery of these holiday-themed foods begins on Sunday, Dec. 18, the first night of the holiday, and runs through Dec. 26. Prices start at $18 for four regular-sized doughnuts; delivery charges vary by location. Kosher certification from OK Kosher.
Three locations: One in Brooklyn and two on the Lower East Side
The creative minds at Fan Fan are also collaborating with iconic appetizing store Russ & Daughters for a good cause: a portion of sales of their three-sufganiyot Hanukkah Box ($14) will go to the Anti-Defamation League, the non-profit that fights antisemitism. The box consists of a traditional(ish) sufganiyah rolled in vanilla sugar and filled with homemade roasted strawberry jam; a rugelach doughnut filled with raspberry jam and rolled in cinnamon sugar; and a black and white doughnut filled with chocolate and vanilla cream and iced in vanilla and chocolate. These treats — also available for $4.50 each — are available at Fan Fan and all Russ & Daughters locations from Dec. 15 through 25.
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Phyllis Pollock died at home Sunday September 3, 2023 in Winnipeg, after a courageous lifetime battle with cancer.
Phyllis was a mother of four: Gary (Laura), daughter Randi, Steven (deceased in 2010) (Karen), and Robert. Phyllis also had two grandchildren: Lauren and Quinn.
Born in Fort Frances, Ontario on February 7, 1939, Phyllis was an only child to Ruby and Alex Lerman. After graduating high school, Phyllis moved to Winnipeg where she married and later divorced Danny Pollock, the father of her children. She moved to Beverly Hills in 1971, where she raised her children.
Phyllis had a busy social life and lucrative real estate career that spanned over 50 years, including new home sales with CoastCo. Phyllis was the original sales agent for three buildings in Santa Monica, oceanfront: Sea Colony I, Sea Colony II, and Sea Colony. She was known as the Sea Colony Queen. She worked side by side with her daughter Randi for about 25 years – handling over 600 transactions, including sales and leases within the three phases of Sea Colony alone.
Phyllis had more energy than most people half her age. She loved entertaining, working in the real estate field, meeting new and interesting people everyday no matter where she went, and thrived on making new lifelong friends. Phyllis eventually moved to the Sea Colony in Santa Monica where she lived for many years before moving to Palm Desert, then Winnipeg.
After battling breast cancer four times in approximately 20 years, she developed metastatic Stage 4 lung cancer. Her long-time domestic partner of 27 years, Joseph Wilder, K.C., was the love of her life. They were never far apart. They traveled the world and went on many adventures during their relationship. During her treatment, Phyllis would say how much she missed work and seeing her clients. Joey demonstrated amazing strength, love, care, and compassion for Phyllis as her condition progressed. He was her rock and was by her side 24/7, making sure she had the best possible care. Joey’s son David was always there to support Phyllis and to make her smile. Joey’s other children, Sheri, Kenny, Joshua and wife Davina, were also a part of her life. His kids would Facetime Phyllis and include her during any of their important functions. Phyllis loved Joey’s children as if they were her own.
Thank you to all of her friends and family who were there to support her during these difficult times. Phyllis is now, finally, pain free and in a better place. She was loved dearly and will be greatly missed. Interment took place in Los Angeles.
Gwen Centre Creative Living Centre celebrates 35th anniversary
By BERNIE BELLAN Over 100 individuals gathered at the Gwen Secter Centre on Tuesday evening, July 18 – under the big top that serves as the venue for the summer series of outdoor concerts that is now in its third year at the centre.
The occasion was the celebration of the Gwen Secter Centre’s 35th anniversary. It was also an opportunity to honour the memory of Sophie Shinewald, who passed away at the age of 106 in 2019, but who, as recently as 2018, was still a regular attendee at the Gwen Secter Centre.
As Gwen Secter Executive Director Becky Chisick noted in her remarks to the audience, Sophie had been volunteering at the Gwen Secter Centre for years – answering the phone among other duties. Becky remarked that Sophie’s son, Ed Shinewald, had the phone number for the Gwen Secter Centre stored in his phone as “Mum’s work.”
Remarks were also delivered by Raquel Dancho, Member of Parliament for Kildonan-St. Paul, who was the only representative of any level of government in attendance. (How times have changed: I remember well the steadfast support the former Member of the Legislature for St. John’s, Gord Mackintosh, showed the Gwen Secter Centre when it was perilously close to being closed down. And, of course, for years, the area in which the Gwen Secter Centre is situated was represented by the late Saul Cherniack.)
Sophie Shinewald’s granddaughter, Alix (who flew in from Chicago), represented the Shinewald family at the event. (Her brother, Benjamin, who lives in Ottawa, wasn’t able to attend, but he sent a pre-recorded audio message that was played for the audience.)
Musical entertainment for the evening was provided by a group of talented singers, led by Julia Kroft. Following the concert, attendees headed inside to partake of a sumptuous assortment of pastries, all prepared by the Gwen Secter culinary staff. (And, despite my asking whether I could take a doggy bag home, I was turned down.)
Palestinian gunmen kill 4 Israelis in West Bank gas station
This is a developing story.
(JTA) — Palestinian gunmen killed four people and wounded four in a terror attack at a gas station near the West Bank settlement of Eli, the Israeli army reported.
An Israeli civilian returning fire at the scene of the attack on Tuesday killed one of the attackers, who emerged from a vehicle, and two others fled.
Kan, Israel’s public broadcaster, said one of those wounded was in serious condition. The gunmen, while in the vehicle, shot at a guard post at the entry to the settlement, and then continued to the gas station which is also the site of a snack bar. A nearby yeshiva went into lockdown.
Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant announced plans to convene a briefing with top security officials within hours of the attack. Kan reported that there were celebrations of the killing in major West Bank cities and in the Gaza Strip, initiated by terrorist groups Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Hamas said the shooting attack Tuesday was triggered by the Jenin raid.
The shooting comes as tensions intensify in the West Bank. A day earlier, Israeli troops raiding the city of Jenin to arrest accused terrorists killed five people.
The Biden administration spoke out over the weekend against Israel’s plans to build 4,000 new housing units for Jewish settlers in the West Bank. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also finalized plans to transfer West Bank building decisions to Bezalel Smotrich, the extremist who is the finance minister. Smotrich has said he wants to limit Palestinian building and expand settlement building.
Kan reported that the dead terrorist was a resident of a village, Urif, close to Huwara, the Palestinian town where terrorists killed two Israeli brothers driving through in February. Settlers retaliated by raiding the village and burning cars and buildings.
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