Shamayim Challenge

The Y’s Norman E. Alexander Center for Jewish Life is excited to share with you the Shamayim Challenge for people of all ages!

As we celebrate Jewish holidays and traditions throughout the year, we will explore vegan — plant-based — cooking with delicious recipes and discuss compassion for animals from a Jewish perspective, as well as plant-based alternatives to avoid food allergies. Converting traditional Jewish recipes to a plant-based version can be better for personal health and is better for the planet, while still being delicious and fulfilling. We look forward to having you join us for our delicious hearty plant-based cooking lessons and celebrations.

Each session will introduce a theme with a new dish. Recipes will be shared in advance.

This program is generously sponsored by Shamayim Jewish Animal Advocacy and VegFund

For more information and questions about the curriculum and recipes, please contact Cyndi Rand, Jewish educator and creator of Bubbie’s Kitchen, at

(Each session will have its own registration link.) 

Tuesday, February 23, 7:00 PM
Click here to register with Zoom

Sunday, March 14, 5:00 PM
Sunday, April 11, 5:00 PM
Friday, June 11 6:00 PM

Details and Recipes

Tuesday, February 23, 7:00 PM 

In honor of the holiday of Purim, which took place in ancient Persia, we will be making three delicious Persian recipes.

Tahdig — Persian Rice
2 cups uncooked rice (basmati, jasmine, or white rice of your choice)
4 cups water
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons oil
Supplies needed: 1 pot with lid, 1 large spoon, 1 large serving dish, serving bowls and forks

Zeytoon Parvadeh  — Persian Pomegranate, Walnut, and Olive Dip
1 lb green olives
1 cup of walnuts*
4 garlic cloves
4 tablespoons molasses or pomegranate paste
1/2 cup fresh mint
1/4 cup pomegranate seeds
Salt and pepper to taste
Enjoy on pita, crackers, or  flatbread. 
*Note: We will be toasting the walnuts on the stove before mixing the ingredients together.
Supplies needed: 1 pan, 1 wooden spoon, 1 cutting board, 1 knife, 1 medium-sized bowl, serving bowls and forks

Warming Winter Spiced Tea
Adapted from
Makes two servings
2 cups of boiled water
2-3 herbal tea bags (try a rose-scented tea)
1 piece of candied ginger
1/2 teaspoon cardamom
1 cinnamon stick
1-2 tablespoons agave nectar
2 teaspoons rose water
Supplies needed: 1 pitcher, 2 mugs, 2 spoons, 1 cutting board, 1 knife

Sunday, March 14, 5:00 PM
Rosh Chodesh and Pesach — New Month and Passover — Sprout Salad

Rosh Chodesh Sprout Salad with Passover Vegetables
1 carton sprouts (lentil, broccoli, garbanzo, mung)
1 cup baby spinach
1 small head radicchio
1 cup assorted greens
2 scallions
1 large pepper
1/2 cup dried cherries
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
1 carton cherry tomatoes
1 bunch parsley
1/4 cup olive oil
1 large lemon
1 orange
1 lime
1 tablespoon agave syrup
Salt, pepper
Supplies: 1 large bowl, 1 cutting board, 1 knife, bowls, and forks

Sunday, April 11, 5:00 PM 
Yom Ha’atzmaut — Israel Independence Day — Falafel

Recipe to come. 

Tuesday, May 11, 7:00 PM 

Details and recipe to come.

Friday, June 11, 6:00 PM 
End of Year Shabbat Gala — Plant-Based Potluck Dinner

Dvar Torah by Norman E. Alexander Center for Jewish Life Director Rabbi Ari Perten.
Adults will prepare main dishes, teens will prepare salads, and children will prepare desserts. Additional details to come.

Recipes from Previous Events

Hanukkah — Delicious Oven-Baked Potato Latkes, Homemade Fruit Sauce, and Fried Artichokes

Oven-Baked Potato Latkes
4 large Russet potatoes (alternatively, you may also use frozen pre-grated potatoes)
1/2 teaspoon minced onion
1/4 - 1/2 cup matzo meal
*2 tablespoons ground flax meal, combined with 6 tablespoons water (mix in a small bowl and set in fridge for 10 mins at start of recipe)
1/2 teaspoon salt
Supplies: Grater or food processor, large bowl, sheet pan, and parchment paper

Homemade Fruit Sauce
2 apples, washed
5 strawberries (optional)
1 - 2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
Supplies: 1 large microwave safe bowl, plastic wrap, cutting board, 1 knife (kid-safe), and microwave

'Uptown' Carciofi-Alla-Giudia   (Artichokes, Jewish Style)*
2  14 ounce cans of whole artichoke hearts
1 cup flour
1 cup beer
Sea salt
Freshly cracked black pepper
1 bottle canola oil
1 large carrot (we will use in the oil to prevent scorching)
Supplies: 1 heavy-bottomed pan, 1 slotted spoon

Dipping Sauce
4 ripe avocados
2 lemons or 3 limes
2 cloves of garlic (can substitute garlic powder)
2 scallions
Supplies: Bowls/spoons to serve; lots of napkins!

*Very interesting history behind this recipe!

Fall Harvest — Autumn Harvest Salad Bowl and Spiced Cider
Autumn Harvest Salad Bowl 
1 bunch kale
1 lemon, halved
1 can chickpeas or kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 bag shredded carrots
1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
1 avocado
1/4 red onion 
1 cup cooked brown rice or quinoa
Supplies: cutting board, knife, large bowl, smaller bowls for serving, forks, kitchen towel, and napkins

3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons nutritional yeast (optional)
1 teaspoon soy sauce, tamari or coconut aminos
1/2 - 1 teaspoon garlic powder (or 1 clove garlic) 
Supplies: measuring cup, measuring spoons, and fork or whisk

Spiced Cider
1 quart apple cider or apple juice
1 orange, 2 cinnamon sticks, 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Apple Pie Breakfast “Betty”  
2 cups rolled oats
1/2 cup brown, coconut, maple or turbinado sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cardamom (optional)
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon neutral oil (avocado, canola, grapeseed, etc.)
1 large apple, washed (we will cut into smaller pieces and add to recipe together) 
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
2 cups unsweetened plant-based milk
Supplies: large bowl, mixing spoons, 9”x9” pan, spray oil, measuring spoons, and aluminum foil

No Bake Pumpkin Dessert
9 whole Graham Crackers
2 tablespoons brown sugar or coconut sugar
4 tablespoons neutral, flavorless oil
1 box *instant* vanilla pudding mix (pareve, non-dairy)
2 cans full fat coconut milk (we will use the liquid for the dessert and the cream on top of cans for the topping)
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
Coconut cream (from the top of the coconut cream, as described above)
1 - 2 tablespoons maple syrup
Supplies: 9”x9” pan, gallon-sized ziplock bag, spray oil, large mixing bowl, mixing spoon/spatula, and fridge

Plant-Based Ice Cream
3 bananas peeled, chopped, and frozen
1 16 oz bag frozen fruit 
4 pitted dates (optional)
1/2 cup vashews (soaked and drained) optional
1 cup plant-based milk
Supplies: Food processor or blender

Sheva Minim Fruit Salad
2 bananas
1 pear
1 bunch of grapes
1 kiwi
1 pomegranate
5 figs
5 dates
5 strawberries
10 blackberries
1/4 cup dried cherries
1/4 cup dried pineapple
1/4 silan (date syrup)
1/4 cup agave nectar
1 lime
1 lemon
1 sprig of mint
Supplies:1 cutting board, 1 knife, 1 large bowl, smaller bowls for serving, and spoons

Blueberry Compote
1 bag frozen blueberries
2 tablespoon maple syrup 
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoon cornstarch
Supplies need: A stove will be needed for this recipe.


We greatly appreciate the generosity of Shamayim Jewish Animal Advocacy and VegFund for sponsoring the Y's Shamayim Challenge!