Spokane Fundraiser Brings Jewish, Palestinian Cuisine Together for Peace
News Story by Nina Culver | FāVS News
Jewish and Palestinian food was on the menu Sunday at Feast World Kitchen in downtown Spokane to raise money for the Parents Circle, a joint Israeli-Palestinian organization that works to promote dialogue, tolerance, reconciliation and peace.
The meal was organized in response to attacks on Israel by the Hamas terrorist group and the retaliatory attacks in the Gaza Strip, where Hamas is based and Palestinians live.
Feast World Kitchen is a non-profit restaurant that hosts a rotating schedule of chefs from around the world who cook and serve cuisine from their home countries.
Volunteers were quickly busy when the doors opened for lunch Sunday, with food piled high on the counter to fill the hundreds of pre-ordered meals and others walking in in the hopes of getting a meal. Feast World Kitchen Co-executive Director Ross Carper said the meal was cooked by the daughters of Israelis and the daughters of Palestinians.
“We believe coming together around the table is an opportunity to combine peace and justice around all people, regardless of religion and ethnicity,” he said. “Our hearts are broken for the people of Israel and the people of Palestine, who are both suffering.”
John Shuster and his wife, Dawn, are part of Congregation Emanu-El, a Reform Jewish community in Spokane. They helped with the cooking ahead of the event.
“I cooked all the peppers,” John Shuster said. “The thing I helped make sold out and we didn’t even get to try it.”
John Shuster is an orthopaedic surgeon and said he tried to go to Gaza to help, but was unable to get there. He still wanted to help out where he could, so they decided to help with the meal.
“There’s not much we can do this far away other than raise money and awareness,” he said. “It’s an important mission. We’ve got to raise everybody up, regardless of politics.”
Dawn Shuster, John Shuster’s wife, said they liked that the money was going to an organization that helps both Israelis and Palestinians.
“We liked that it was for both,” she said.
Dawn Shuster enjoyed a Sabich, an Iraqi-Jewish sandwich with fried eggplant, hard-boiled eggs, tomato-cucumber salad, hummus and tahini.
“So flavorful, so good,” she said.
Elena De La Paz and Kendra Guttridge, both recent Whitworth University students, showed up promptly when the doors opened Sunday to order lunch, since they hadn’t ordered ahead of time.
“We love Feast,” Guttridge said. “We’ve both volunteered with Feast before. We wanted to come eat and support.”
They both knew students at Whitworth who traveled to Israel and Palestine and attended the presentations those students gave about their trip when they returned to campus, so they’re familiar with the area. De La Paz ordered a Sabich while Guttridge got Maftoul, a Palestinian couscous served with roasted chicken and a mixed vegetable sauce.
Both were enthusiastic about their meals.
“It’s so good,” De La Paz said.
Carper said the fundraiser seemed to be a popular one.
“We’ll raise thousands of dollars for the Parents Circle,” he said.
Robi Damelin, a leader of the Parents Circle and a Nobel Prize nominee, will speak to Spokane supporters during a Zoom session at 9 a.m. Monday PST. The session will be at https://tinyurl.com/2xp22tn.