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Sun City havurah dishes up kosher cookbook

A new kosher cookbook, “Havurah Cooks! A Collection of Recipes by Sun City Vistoso Havurah Club” was conceived by board members Ester Leutenberg and Bebe Lewis as a way to fight “activity fatigue” in the club, which was founded in 1993 and now boasts some 160 members. The club’s many activities — monthly brunches, Passover Seders, guest speakers, Yiddish classes, game nights and more — are well attended, says Leutenberg, yet after almost 20 years, they needed something new.

The strategy worked: an estimated 95 percent of Sun City Havurah members were involved with the cookbook, says Leutenberg, whether it was proofreading recipes, collecting kitchen bloopers, writing about healthy alternatives to ingredients like schmaltz (chicken fat) or selling and distributing books. Urged to make the cookbook a family heirloom, members invited children, nieces and nephews, cousins, aunts and uncles and a machatonista or two (mother of a son- or daughter-in-law) to submit recipes.

The ring-bound book includes more than 300 dishes, from old standards like Russian Mushroom and Barley Soup and Stuffed Cabbage Rolls to more exotic fare, such as a vegan Jambalaya, Watermelon Steak and Macadamia-Crusted Pear Torte.

Books are $18. To purchase, email Leutenberg at