Elite Jakob loves spending time in her kitchen. But the Reisterstown resident understands that slaving away over a hot stove is not everyone’s ideal way to spend a day.
That’s why Jakob, a native of the Israeli city of Ra’anana, titled her 2018 self-published cookbook, “I Live in My Kitchen … But You Don’t Have To!”
“I want to teach people to cook quickly and healthy,” said Jakob, a certified integrative health coach and mother of three. “You don’t have to be in the kitchen for 12 hours straight to cook healthy, delicious meals.”
On Sunday, Nov. 8, Jakob led a Zoom event titled “Israeli Cooking for the Whole Family.”
The cooking instruction and demo was the first installment of a three-part Middle Eastern-themed series presented by the Bet Chaverim Congregation of Howard County. The free series is open to the public.
Jakob, a longtime congregant of Pikesville’s Beth Tfiloh Synagogue, said her culinary offerings at the event — chicken with cauliflower rice, Israeli fall salad and a chocolate date roll — were all Israeli-themed and inspired.
“This is how I was brought up and what I’m used to,” said Jakob, 53, who moved to Baltimore in 1989 after completing her Israeli military service.
Jakob noted that she has participated in Zoom cooking demonstrations in the past, including for Beth Tfiloh, the Levindale Auxiliary and a Hillel group in Michigan.
“Young people are very into cooking today,” she said. “It’s really fun to do [Zoom demos]. We had hundreds of people for my Beth Tfiloh one. It’s great to see people. None of us get out much these days, so you make the best of it. Zoom is great.
“With the pandemic, we all want to cook more,” Jakob said. “It’s going to be getting colder soon, and carry-out is getting old. So we all want to cook.”
Jakob, who has approximately 120,000 followers on TikTok, recently returned home from a visit to Israel, where she was quarantined for two weeks and began work on her second cookbook.
“It’s a good beginning,’ she said. “I’m off to a good start.”
Michelle Neufeld Goldberg, one of the organizers of the series, said the congregation was happy to have Jakob participate. “This is a grassroots synagogue event,” she said. “We wanted it to be family-friendly and something for everyone. We always want to reach out to everyone. … [Jakob’s dishes] are very good and clean and easy to make.”
On Tuesday, Dec. 1, at 7 p.m., Bet Chaverim will present “How is Middle East Policy Made on Capitol Hill?” with Dana Stroul, the Kassen Fellow in the Washington Institute’s Beth and David Geduld Program on Arab Politics. On Saturday, Jan. 9, at 7 p.m., the congregation will host Dr. Robert Satloff, director of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy and author of “Among the Righteous — Lost Stories from the Holocaust’s Long Reach into Arab Lands” (PublicAffairs).