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Jamie Geller at the Hebrew Academy for Special Children

On Wednesday August 18th I had the absolute honor of doing my 2nd Hebrew Academy for Special Children (HASC) event. When Grant Silverstein, the Director of Special Projects and Alumni Relations at HASC called me to book an appearance to benefit Camp HASC, I immediately said yes!

I have chills and tears just writing this post knowing I can never accurately convey what Shani a 5 year Camp HASC counselor and division head shared with us.  She spoke about how the camp services campers from 3 to 73.  I had no clue as to how large a consumer group Camp HASC reaches.  I always imagined it was only children.  She spoke about a Shabbos evening where campers and counselors were singing and dancing with such excitement energy and love and how counselors put immobile campers on their shoulders.  She painted such an amazing picture of the last Shabbos at Camp HASC and told how the coming Shabbos for some campers will leave them in group homes that may not have the same ruach (spiritual excitement and energy) and joy that they experience at Camp.  My heart swells just to know how many special people dedicate their lives to working with special needs children and adults.  Shani explained there are 400 staff members to 300 campers.

The evening was an effort to raise money to continue the amazing programming that HASC offers. Grant is a master event planner.  The beauty, elegance, warmth and tone of the evening were perfection.  If I had to make a Bar Mitzvah I would call to see if he moonlights as a personal party planner!

Each sponsor received a signed copy of Quick & Kosher: Recipes From The Bride Who Knew Nothing, a CD of Simply Kosher the cooking shows I did with the OU (Orthodox Union) and will receive a signed copy of Quick & Kosher: Meals in Minutes in November when it becomes available.

The event was held in a beautiful home in the 5 Towns.  Helena generously donated her home, her fabulous kitchen and much else to make this event a success. I spoke about my life and how I went from non-kosher, non-religious TV Producer to Kosher cookbook author.  And then we got to the fun stuff, the food.


Amy, my new best friend.

We made Chilled Salmon with a Duet of Dipping Sauces, Asian Cabbage Salad with Garlic Sesame Dressing, Brisket in Wine Sauce (6lbs of brisket almost entirely polished by a group of women, now that’s what I am talking about!), and 2 desserts,  Puff Pastry Apple Purses and Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Mousse Pie.  But I actually didn’t make it as a pie.  I poured the mousse into mini martini glasses and garnished each with a few chocolate chips – although someone gave me the great idea to use mini chocolate chips next time.  Of course if you are not of the Quick & Kosher ilk you can always go for chocolate ribbons or shavings.

When I say “I” I am actually using the term loosely.  At every event there is one person without whom we would all be hungry.  And my volunteer assistant was Amy. She made mousse, and apple purses, plated salmon and served.  THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU, Amy.  Grant said I would love you and I do!

Please visit the HASC website and donate  to this worthy cause, make sure you select the alumni department for your donation so they are able to track the proceeds of this event. If you would like to learn more feel free to contact Grant, he’s waiting to talk to you!

Grant Silverstein
Director, Special Projects & Alumni Relations