As Israel remembers its fallen IDF soldiers and terror victims, some bereaved mothers find a unique way to contend with the pain.
Ahead of Israel’s Memorial Day, when the Jewish State officially remembers its fallen soldiers and victims of terror, a compilation of recipes by bereaved mothers who lost children to war and terror was published in a unique cookbook, titled A Taste for Life.
Memorial Day – or Yom HaZikaron in Hebrew – begins this year on Tuesday evening, April 21, and runs through Wednesday.
The cookbook, a project of OneFamily Fund, Israel’s leading national organization to provide support for bereaved families, includes 124 favorite recipes of sons and daughters who were killed in terror attacks or in war in the past 13 years.
For Dalia Emanueloff, who lost her son Dvir in Operation Cast Lead six years ago, being involved in the cookbook was an uplifting experience. Staff Sgt. Dvir Emanueloff, 22, was the first Israeli soldier to fall during Operation Cast Lead in 2009 during a mortar attack in northern Gaza.
“I still keep the last text message that Dvir sent me right before he went into Gaza,” his mother said. “We had an agreement that before he went into battle to SMS me letting me know that he was OK.”
Displaying the six-year-old text message, Dalia read aloud her last communication with her son: “To the dearest mother in the world, I love you. I will take care of myself and you take care of yourselves. With the help of God, we will return the respect to the people of Israel.”
Two years before Operation Cast Lead, Dalia’s husband passed away after a prolonged illness.
“The cookbook gave me a platform to share the memory of my dear son with the public,” said Emanueloff, who lives with her family in Jerusalem. The recipe she chose for the cookbook was for challah, the braided bread eaten on the Sabbath and Jewish holidays. “Now, in the merit of my son, people will know about this important Jewish tradition.”
“Every Friday, I would bake challah, but one Shabbat I didn’t have any energy and wanted to buy in the supermarket. Dvir refused – he wanted to eat my home-baked challah and so he helped me bake that Shabbat,” she recalled.
Confronting Pain and Loss
For others, such as Daliah Mizrahi, who lost two children – one in a terror attack and another in an IDF operation – making her son’s favorite chocolate cake after he was killed was a very difficult experience.
“I lost Shahar, my oldest son, in 1995, and his youngest sister, Idit, always asked me to make his favorite chocolate cake even though I didn’t want to anymore,” Mizrahi said. “At home, we always called this chocolate cake ‘Shahar’s cake.'”
In 2001, Idit was killed when shot by terrorists on the way to a cousin’s wedding in Jerusalem. “When Idit was murdered, making this cake became even more difficult,” said the bereaved mother.
“Since then, I don’t bake this cake so often, and when I do, the pain and loss it reminds me of are just overwhelming.” She decided, however, that for the cookbook, she would include her layered chocolate cake recipe.
Mizrahi’s only remaining child, a son, is married with three children. “Today my grandkids are my comfort, they are my light,” Mizrahi said. “They keep me going.”
The cookbook, which features recipes from Moroccan kube soup to matzo balls, fish and meat delicacies, as well as desserts, together with photos of mothers and their children, is currently available in Hebrew only. An English version will be published at a later date.
“The relationship between mother and son is a deep one that continues throughout life,” said Dina Kit, the bereaved mother behind the idea of the OneFamily cookbook, at a launch ceremony held at the President’s Residence in Jerusalem last week.
“With Dina’s idea, we approached bereaved families for recipes,” explained Chantal Belzberg, the founder and volunteer CEO of OneFamily. “This is a book born out of sadness, but the process of preparing provoked memories with a smile. Many mothers prepared a favorite dish – their first time, for this book.”
By: Anav Silverman, Tazpit News Agency