Archive for the 'Sidney Cohen' Category

07
May
12

Hillula d’Rabbi Meir Ba’al Haness, Again


Last evening, as has been the custom for almost 20 years, the home of Tammy and Sidney Cohen (partners at 18 Restaurant) was once again the center for a gathering of a diverse group of people. We came to commemorate the anniversary of Rabbi Meir Ba’al Haness’ departure from this world. On such an occasions we give tzedakah in the Sage’s name as we pour our hearts out to the Almighty about our most urgent needs.

The piercing eyes of a young Baba Sali as they follow everyone’s moves in the Cohen household

After Ma’ariv, each person lit his/her candle and proceeded to make their personal request starting with the well known formula, “Eloka d’Meir aneni – Lord of Meir, answer me…”

The table was laden with various trays of rice, chicken, fish, beef, meat balls and salads; as everyone grabbed a bite, the speaker regaled us with divrey Torah.

HaRav Yechiel Azoulay, spoke eloquently and with humor on the question of why Rabbi Meir was known as Ba’al Haness. Doesn’t every Jew have a personal miracle story he can tell? Why has only Rabbi Meir merited the added title?

The Rosh Yeshiva of Yeshivat Birkat Yitzchak in Bney Brak, Harav Yechiel Azoulay

Rav Azoulay told over a personal story of a miracle Hashem did for his own family (when the Rosh Yeshiva was merely 6 years old, as the family expected to leave Morocco for Israel), a story that showed Hashem had saved a whole family without the need to invoke Rabbi Me’ir‘s help. He then proceeded to tell the story of his brother’s childless marriage (for many years), how Rabbi Meir’s intercession helped when Israel’s top doctors were unable to. Of course, as expected, his brother is a now proud father of a boy named… Meir!

Harav Azoulay explained that the reason for Rabbi Meir being singled out with the addition of Ba’al HaNess is because as long as one precedes his/her personal request with “Eloka d’Meir aneni,” and the person truly seeks the Almighty’s help that request will be always be honored.

An inspiring evening, Eloka d’Meir anenU! God of Meir, answer US all!

CS

RELATED POSTS

Hillula d’Rabbi Meir Ba’al Haness

22
Aug
11

Chef Haim Dadi – The Dream Concrete


Since he was very young, Haim Dadi knew what he wanted to do. His parents had a restaurant in Israel and whenever he visited their place – as a child – he loved the hustle and bustle, the aromas, the sounds of the patrons.  He is currently Chef/Partner of 18 Restaurant on 81st Street and 2nd Avenue. I’ve watched and followed him through every area of his restaurant and – as amiable as he is outside the cooking area – it is in the kitchen that he truly comes alive as he cooks, as he talks to his staff, as he experiments with more delicious ways of preparing his fare.

I spoke to Chef Haim recently to find out what makes him tick, what it is that spurs him on. Twenty five years ago he opened his first restaurant in Beersheva with his brother, serving mostly shawarma and a few other grilled items. Three years later, he arrived in New York and opened his first venture in Forest Hills – Tel Aviv Haktanah, though very successful he did not get along with his partner.

He left for a place in Manhattan called Shelanu, which eventually evolved into Mr. Broadway. It started out with a limited Israeli menu, yet considering the demographics in and around its location, it did not work too well. Over a period of seven years they slowly introduced various new types: deli, Chinese, shawarma and sushi. With the addition of all those cuisines Mr. Broadway, soon had one of the largest menus in Manhattan. With very moderate prices and the rich selection they expanded over the years and became a very successful venture, a fixture of the New York kosher Scene.

About a year ago, Chef Dadi was ready for bigger challenges. Together with Sidney Cohen he opened up 18 Restaurant on the premises of what used to be the high end Turquoise. In spite of the high quality of its servings, Turquoise had become a victim of the new recession.

Walking into 18, with its turquoise wall and aquarium, opposite an antiqued stone wall and red fixtures, gives the impression of an upscale expensive place. A quick look, however, at the menu immediately dispels the notion of “expensive.” The food served here is of higher quality than at his former place and in the year since they’ve opened they managed to gather a faithful following that fills the restaurant every day at lunch and dinner. The sushi is superb, and coming from someone who never touched fish until two years ago, someone who never thought he’d ever taste sushi, you can take it as very high praise indeed. I can never resist ordering Chef Haim’s Yemenite Meat Soup, or his juicy hamburgers. He doesn’t serve exotic dishes, instead he specializes in a wholesome array including Eastern European, Mediterranean, sushi and deli selections. He envisions 18 as a purveyor of high quality food at reasonable prices and… the concept works!

As a young child, Haim Dadi had a dream; as a man, he’s made the dream concrete!

CS

01
Jun
11

Internet Radio Show Tonight


Thanks to Sidney and Tammy Cohen  we did an incredible one hour show last week, live from 18 Restaurant (240 E 81st St, New York NY10065; Tel: 212.517.2400). Our guests lineup included: Gil Marks – author of Encyclopedia of Jewish Food, Chef Lévana Kirschenbaum – who spoke of her brand new cook book. Kim Amzallag from Kosher Inspired Magazine, Esti Berkowitz from the Prime Time Parenting blog and, of course, the incomparable Tammy Cohen . The food was great, the atmosphere just perfect and the place was packed.  We all loved it!

This evening, at 7:30 pm (Eastern Time), we will broadcasting again. You can listen to our show at BlogTalkRadio/kosherscene. We will start with a reading of a very short piece I wrote a few years back (which was reprinted on The Jerusalem Post and on Ynet.com) it’s about the first Yom Yerushalayim – Jerusalem Day, commemorating the reunification of Jerusalem. I was there when the Old City – Ir Hatika became ours again…

Then we’ll turn the conversation to Shavuos and dairy food with Brigitte Mizrahi and Moshe Vogel from Anderson International Foods (who manufacture the cholov Yisroel line of cheeses Natural & Kosher, and the non-cholov Yisroel brands Les Petites Fermieres and Organic and Kosher. We will follow with Kim Amzallag (whom I prerecorded yesterday afternoon), who will talk to us about the new Shavuos issue of Kosher Inspired and much more.

A tiny selection of Anderson International Foods' cheese offerings

Please tune us in this evening from 7:30pm t0 8:30pm, at: BlogTalkRadio/kosherscene. We have a very interesting program, geared to Shavuos (which is next week, starting Tuesday eve and continuing through Thursday night, the evening of the 7th through the 9th of June). We’ll be waiting for you!

CS

24
May
11

21st Annual Hiloula Dinner


Last evening, the Manhattan Sephardic Congregation held its 21st Annua Lag Ba’Omerl Dinner. The venue was the Museum of Jewish Heritage next to Manhattan’s Battery Park. It started with a very nice smorgasboard, befitting the occasion and the venue, combined with a superb selection of top wines and other potables. The main speaker at the dinner was Harav Joseph Sitruk SHLIT”A – Chief Rabbi of France – who flew in specifically for this weekend’s events at the Congregation.

Rabbi Raphael Benchimol translating Rabbi Joseph Sitruk's words from French

Also in attendance were Morocco’s Consul Général M. Mohamed Karmoune

Mr. Mohamed Karmoune

and the President of the Jewish Community of Marrakesh, Jackie Kadosh

Rabbi Jackie Kadosh

Immediately after Rabbi Sitruk’s speech, Rabbi Benchimol presented Irving Schild (who was not expecting it), with a plaque for his being one of the founders of Manhattan Sephardic Congretation and for his years’ long dedication to it.

Irving and Regina Schild

The dinner was a fund raiser for both the building fund and the yearly operating expenses. Mr. Schild donated 5 photos which he had taken during the Congregation’s trip to Morocco a couple of year’s back. They were auctioned off fetching a total of $36,000, one of them selling at the princely sum of $26,000. All in all the expected goals were more than met.

The food, the presentation was very nice, especially that roast beef. I wish I knew who the caterer was.

At the end of the evening, Irving Schild was presented with yet another surprise. They brought him a cake commemorating his 80th birthday, it had a little camera and a tiny little man sitting atop of it…

Delicious chocolate cake!

Though I am not a member of the Congregation, nor am I of Sephardic extraction myself, I found the people I’d met last week – at Sidney and Tammy Cohen’s – very warm and friendly and I even made some new friends at this dinner. This is a true tribute to the Congregation’s members and to the values Rabbi Benchimol teaches and manages to instill in his congregants.

CS

18
May
11

Hillula d’Rabbi Meir Ba’al Haness


Last evening, SYR and I had the privilege to be at Sidney and Tammy Cohen‘s (partners at 18 Restaurant) apartment in Manhattan. We were there to commemorate the Hilula (yohrtzeit, as we ashkenazim call it) of Rabbi Meir Ba’al Haness. I had never heard of this custom until I got Tammy’s email last week… How I wish I had known of it earlier in my life!

Among walls covered with portraits of a very young Baba Sali (whose haunting eyes seemed to pierce right through me) and Chagall like paintings, the crowd, the tfilot, the candles, the food, made it all very special…

Dips galore, mashed potatoes, fish, couscous, chicken, beef and more...

Who was Rabbi Meir Ba’al Haness? The Babylonian Talmud, in Tractate Gittin 56a relates:

As he [Nero] came close, he shot an arrow towards the east and it fell in Jerusalem. He then shot an arrow to the west and it fell in Jerusalem. [He shot] towards the four points of the compass and it fell in Jerusalem. He then asked a [passing] boy, “Tell me the verse [from Scripture] you learned [today].” He [the boy] said, “I will place my vengeance upon Edom by the hand of my people Israel [Ezekiel 25:14].” He [Nero] said, “The Holy One, blessed be He, wishes to destroy His House and lay the blame on me.” He [Nero] ran away and became a proselyte. From him came Rabbi Meir.”

Rabbi Meir, the descendant of a former Roman emperor, eventually became a staunch supporter of Bar Kochba‘s rebellion against the Romans. Why was he called Meir, when tradition says that his name was either Nahori or Misha? “Meir” means “Illuminator,” as someone who illuminated the mind’s eye of students and scholars alike to give them an understanding of both the Written and the Oral Laws, he came to be known as Meir.

“Ba’al Haness” means “Master of Miracles,” why was that name added to him? It is related that on a certain occasion when a pack of wild dogs ran over to tear him apart, Rabbi Meir cried out: “Eloka d’Meir aneini – God of Meir answer me,” the dogs retreated. The Roman guard of a brothel was about to be hanged for having taken a bribe. He was bribed so as to allow Rabbi Meir‘s wife (Bruriah‘s) sister to escape (while still untouched) from the brothel where the Romans had condemned her to live her life in shame (after they killed her parents, the saintly R. Chananya ben Teradyon – one of the 10 martyrs we mention in the kinot of Tisha B’Av – and his wife). As the noose was tightened around the guard’s neck he cried out, “God of Meir answer me,” the rope tore – to everyone’s amazement – and the guard was saved!

Harav Raphael Benchimol, rabbi of the Manhattan Sephardic Congregation, very eloquently told the evening’s participants that the specific date 14th of Nissan (Pessach Sheini). was a very propitious time for asking Rabbi Meir Baal Haness to intercede in one’s behalf. As I walked around the room, I heard touching, gripping stories of people’s prayers being answered. Even over this last weekend in Providence, RI, I heard one such story…

Rabbi Benchimol: "If you need anything, or if you have lost your way, Rabbi Meir Ba'al Haness will help you find it..."

After Ma’ariv, people lit candles – on a specially set up table – while saying twice, “Eloka d’Meir aneini,” as each silently concentrated on his/her requests…

The emotions, the fervor, were contagious...

Meeting friends and friendly strangers, praying with them mincha and later ma’ariv, listening to the Rabbi’s divrey Torah, pouring out my heart as I concentrated on my personal requests – while lighting my candle – the delicious food, the drinks, made this a very inspiring and enchanted evening. Thank you Sidney, thank you Tammy.

Eloka d’Meir aneinU! God of Meir, answer US all!

CS

04
Feb
11

More Superbowl Specials…


SYR and I spent such a wonderful evening last night with Sidney and Tammy Cohen at 18 Restaurant (240 E 81st St, New York NY10065; Tel: 212.517.2400). It was worth braving the cold and ice to have the opportunity to shmooze with them.  The restaurant was hopping with the evening crowd, who also ignored the weather to get a consistently great meal at 18. Tammi and her husband are so friendly and have such good business and food sense, it was great to see their restaurant thriving.

I had to have the Yemenite Meat Soup again, aside from the perfect weather conditions it’s just too good to pass up (this is winter comfort food at its best!). I’ve tasted this soup at a few well known establishments and I can assure you none came even close.

18‘s got a new sushi chef from NOBO.  I dont know what magic this guy puts int0 his sushi and sauces, but they were extraordinary. We  had his sushi roll and a  shredded fish salad, they tasted sensational. Considering that until 14 months ago I did not even touch anything remotely resembling a fish, you can believe this is very high praise!

If, unlike me, you are not into Indian food, 18 Restaurant is having their own Superbowl Special:

Colorful and delicious

  • 10 ASSORTED OVERSTUFFED DELI SANDWICHES
  • 10 ASSORTED SUSHI ROLLS
  • COLESLAW, PICKLES, POTATO SALAD
  • 30 ASSORTED MINI POTATO KNISHES, HOT DOGS IN BLANKET, MUSHROOMS IN PUFF DOUGH

$199

Now that they have their Liquor License,  18 Restaurant will – every motzey Shabbat (open from 8:00 pm to midnight) – give you a free glass of wine with dinner.

Warm and friendly

We raved about 18 Restaurant‘s food before, having revisited this eatery, we still rave about it. The sushi is superb, the soup is delicious and will warm your bones on any cold winter day, their hamburgers are in a class of their own. Why not give them a try? If this isn’t one of your favorite kosher restaurants already, it soon will be!

CS




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