Wednesday, December 24, 2014 Tevet 2, 5775

Restaurateurs Cook Up Surprise Meal for Hospice Patient

October 17, 2013 By:
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Mitzvah meal-men: Michael Solomonov and Steven Cook

Some Mitzvah Heroes’ actions speak for themselves, but the beneficiary of one such kindness wants to add her voice of praise. 

In her own words, Joan Rosenblatt of Cherry Hill, N.J., tells us about the meaning of food for thoughtfulness. Her submission has been edited for clarity:

Just before Rosh Hashanah, a group of neighbors got together to plan a special meal to deliver to a young family whose father, our friend, was in hospice.

I remembered that the father always had wanted to go to Zahav, the modern Israeli restaurant in Society Hill operated by Michael Solomonov and Steven Cook. We knew the restaurant prepared meals that would be something out of the ordinary for this family. I contacted the restaurant to ask if they might consider doing a take-out meal, knowing full well that this was not something this fine restaurant did.

I received a "yes" the next day. Even after this, I expected that it would be at least the following week before the chef would be able to prepare it. After all, our request came at a very busy time.

I received an email the next day stating that the food would be ready by 5:30 p.m. In addition to the food being piping hot when I arrived to pick it up, they had prepared a feast for a family of five including dessert, which we had not even mentioned. 

The staff insisted on helping us carry the bags to the car. As they walked out of the restaurant with us, I was told that the owners would not take payment for the food. 

The fact that a restaurant that does not do take-out took my request immediately in the midst of an already busy week, prepared the order so it would be hot for dinner, included more than even asked for and then nonchalantly declined payment, was overwhelmingly nice.

While on the surface it can be seen as just a free meal, it meant a lot to the recipients as they were not able to get out as a family. The hospice patient's wife wasn't able to spend time away from his side to prepare involved meals. And if only for one afternoon, he got to think of something other than the routine of attending to his sickness as he read through the menu, discussing and picking out items. He passed away just before Yom Kippur, so we are glad that he got to “go” to one of the restaurants he always wanted to try.

As for what the owners of Zahav did: This is the true meaning of mitzvah.

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