‘Holocaust Survivor Cookbook’ author pays visit to Granite Bay

By: ToLewis, The Press Tribune
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When Bronia Furst was 9 years old, she was taken to a concentration camp in Germany and separated from her family. After several years of surviving, she was taken to an orphanage after the war and finally rescued when she begged a stranger to claim her as his daughter. She never saw that man again, but Furst did return to her hometown and was eventually reunited with her mother. Furst’s mother passed down a family recipe to her called rugalach parve, which is now published, along with her story, in a book entitled, “The Holocaust Survivor Cookbook.” Joanne Caras, the author of the book, will be at the Chabad Jewish Community Center in Granite Bay on Wednesday to share stories from the book, which contains 129 family recipes from Holocaust survivors. Caras, who lives in Maryland, began working on the project in 2008 and spent more than two years collecting stories and recipes, which came in from all around the world. “There were stories that came from people who had survived by spending one year hiding in a ditch,” Caras said. “There are others who would hide in a barn, and those who lived in an orphanage and were saved by nuns.” Proceeds from the book have raised more than $700,000 for Jewish charities worldwide, $151,000 of which has gone to the Carmei Ha’ir soup kitchen in Jerusalem where her son and daughter in law volunteer their time. “It’s a fascinating project that she spent a lot of time doing,” said Rabbi Yossi Korik, director of the Chabad Jewish Center in Granite Bay. “She has a very amazing story to share from all of her experiences and conversations she’s had.” Along with sharing stories, Caras will be preparing recipes featured in the book for those in attendance to sample. “What I call it is not a cookbook, but a book of 129 miracles,” Caras said. Korik said the book will be available for purchase at the event, and Caras will sign each copy sold. “This gives an opportunity for people to connect personally with these people who lived through that,” Korik said. “It kind of brings everyone together and that is very special. We see it as a very unique opportunity.” Caras said that every time she cooks a meal for her family or for Jewish holidays, she picks one recipe from the book and before everyone eats, one person will read the accompanying story to the table. “It’s so powerful,” Caras said. “It’s our promise that the future generations will remember the survivors.” Toby Lewis can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @TobyLewis_RsvPT.