Diana Brement • JTNews Columnist
Also: local teacher honored, Marvin Stern appointed An iconic ad campaign in New York in the ’70s reminded us that we didn’t have to be Jewish to love Levy’s (rye bread). Now I’ve discovered that you don’t have to be Jewish to win a Manischewitz cooking contest, either. I’ve also discovered that there is a subculture in our country of people who enter cooking contests.
Four women from our state went to the semi-finals of this national recipe contest in San Francisco on December 20, 2007 — none of them Jewish. One, Margee Berry, a golf-course manager in White Salmon, has been entering cooking contests for 20 years and has become eminently “Googlable” for her honors and mouth-watering recipes.
“I tend to lean towards cooking healthy,” said Margee. “For instance, I would pass on a shortening contest.”
She was also intrigued by the grand prize: $25,000 worth of appliances, and the opportunity to travel to San Francisco for the cook-off.
Margee has become friendly with Elizabeth Bennett, another semi-finalist from Mill Creek. They’ve met at other cook-offs and have lunch together a few times a year, when Margee visits Seattle.
Elizabeth, an event planner, is more of a newcomer to the contest world.
“I love to cook, and entertaining and cooking are my hobbies.” she told me. Her husband travels a lot for business, “so I was looking for a hobby I could do at home.”
Elizabeth, who is one of only 100 contestants chosen for the 2008 Pillsbury bake-off, was drawn to the Manischewitz contest because of the Internet buzz.
“There’s a Web site called Cooking Contest Central and the women who were in the Manischewitz contest last year raved about it, how well-organized it was, how nice everyone was. So I did a little studying on kosher rules and realized that while I don’t keep a kosher household, there are many meals I prepare that are kosher [style].”
With a box of Manischewitz matzoh crackers already in the house, Elizabeth was ready to submit her salmon cakes.
Update: A publicist for the event reports that none of the Washington entrants went on to the finals. You can follow the contest finals and get information about the next competition at www.manischewitz.com
JTNews readers may remember Nick Coddington, the Tacoma-area high school teacher who took his class to Poland to study the Holocaust, and, in return, hosted a class of Polish students at the Charles Wright Academy where he teaches.
Now Nick has been honored by the Jewish Foundation for the Righteous with their esteemed Robert I. Goldman Award for Excellence in Holocaust Education. Nick traveled to New York City with his wife, Wendy, to receive the award at a black-tie event at the Waldorf-Astoria in November.
Nick called the experience “humbling.”
“I can’t do my job without the Holocaust Center in Seattle,” he said, giving credit to all the folks at the Washington State Holocaust Education Resource Center who support him and other teachers in their efforts to teach about, and prevent, genocide.
Every year, WSHERC recommends teachers from our state for a training program run by the JFR in New York.
Ilana Cone Kennedy, director of education at the center, returned Nick’s compliment. She explained that the JFR works with teachers from around the country, but picks only one exceptional teacher for this award, selecting an educator who has “done something particularly phenomenal.”
Coddington is the second teacher from our state to be so honored. Ilana is not taking the credit, but she does say that “our Holocaust center has earned a reputation for sending some of the most incredible, some of the best teachers, each year.”
Marvin Stern was confirmed last month as a member of the Seattle Human Rights Commission, nominated to the two-year term by Mayor Greg Nichols.
The 15-member commission advises the mayor and city council on human rights issues and collaborates with the public and private sectors to prevent and eliminate discrimination citywide. Some of their current concerns are education, homelessness, and issues relating to police-community relations/oversight.
Marvin previously served as the Pacific Northwest Regional Director for the Anti-Defamation League for nearly 13 years. He was also project manager of the Holocaust Survivors Assistance Office at the Office of the Insurance Commissioner for almost eight years, first under Deborah Senn and then under present Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler.
Recently, he’s been doing some fundraising for the Democratic National Committee, teaching at Congregation Beth Shalom, and helping some Israeli children integrate into the Seattle Jewish Community School where his wife, Michele, is a Hebrew and Judaics teacher.
The Sterns have two children. Their son Rafi, 18, is in Israel working with disabled kids in Ramat Gan as part of Young Judaea’s Year Course, and their daughter, Shira, 15, is a sophomore at Nathan Hale High School in Seattle.
Posted January 11, 2008