Sometimes a salad is not just a salad.
For every Hadassah salad purchased at the Island Crust Café, a percentage will go to Hadassah, The Women’s Zionist Organization of America, Inc. in honor of its centennial year.
Talby Gelb, a local Hadassah organizer, says the group originally proposed that Island Crust name a pizza for the organization’s 100th birthday.
“It would be great if we could have some foods named for Hadassah,” Gelb said, recalling the initial conversation. But given Hadassah’s emphasis on health and Israel, Island Crust owner Richard Benjamin decided to create an Israeli-style falafel salad instead.
Hadassah formed in 1912, when Henrietta Szold realized her call to aid the impoverished, hungry and sick Jews of pre-state Israel. Today, the organization has 300,000 members worldwide and advocates for women’s issues, education, at-risk children and young immigrants in Israel, and medical advancement. The Hadassah Medical Organization consists of two highly regarded hospitals in Jerusalem.
The Hadassah salad consists of small, crisped-to-perfection falafel balls poised around a scoop of humus, tahini and a dollop of schug — a spicy Israeli dip — on a bed of lettuce. The salad comes with triangles of fluffy pita bread — which, I must say, is the closest to Israeli falafel joint pita as I’ve found in this region. The falafel, too, is as good as it gets this side of the Nile.
While I did find my salad slightly heavy on schug and lettuce, I would hands-down order the Hadassah again, assuming I am not attempting to self-soothe with a giant slice of the Dayenu pizza.
“It’s become a very popular salad,” Gelb said. In one day, she saw seven salads fly out of the kitchen. All were met with good reviews.
Julie Varon, who handles marketing for Island Crust, said Benjamin was “just was ready and willing to go” with the idea. But why stop at just donating a percentage of the proceeds, when they could have a party, too? So, on August 15 from 6 to 8 p.m., for every Hadassah salad ordered, customers will receive a complimentary brownie sundae, healthy eating be damned.
It’s “basically a social evening,” said Gelb, but with jewelry on sale and door prizes. The event is directed toward women but open to all.
The proceeds from the salads will go to Hadassah, wherever need is greatest.
“That’s how we built the tower,” said Gelb, referring to the new wing of Hadassah Ein Kerem medical center in Jerusalem. “One hundred percent donations.”