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Rafi's Kitchen

Rafi's Kitchen

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Rafi's Kitchen 

Rafi Estrin, Rabbi Elie's eldest brother, was a little guy plagued by a big disease, Cystic Fibrosis (CF), but packed tremendous energy into a challenged life. He made a lasting impact on all those who knew him. Despite frequent hospitalizations and increasing health restrictions, Rafi was a true fighter—for himself and for others. In fact, for a good part of his 22 years, his motto was, “I have CF, but CF doesn't have me!” 

Last year, on August 22, we marked his 12th Yahrtzeit. Much thought has gone into finding an appropriate way to memorialize him. We wish to create a meaningful tribute that will reflect his spunk, energy and love for outreach. Therefore, we created a special project in his memory that would continue his legacy and at the same time, capture a bit of his spirit: “Rafi’s Kitchen”.

One of Rafi’s favorite spots was in the kitchen. He learned to cook at age 9 and was always trying new recipes and new experiments. As he grew older, he practically took over our family’s Shabbos preparations. His chicken recipes were legendary!

In addition, Rafi’s favorite activity was shooting the breeze with his friends. In a friendly atmosphere, with humor and excitement, Rafi would talk with his friends about life, Judaism, and everything – guiding younger kids in a friendly and positive manner.

Using his example to guide us, we try to apply these lessons to our daily work as the Rabbi and Rebbitzen at Chabad at the University of Washington.

And to be quite honest, the kitchen of Chabad UW has become the hub of our work. 

Students gather around our table at least four times a week for a fresh kosher meal. On an average Friday night, 20-50 students and young adults can be found sitting together and enjoying delicious food, and the Shabbat atmosphere that Shabbat at Chabad has to offer. Shabbat lunch has become a new highlight for many who enjoy the more intimate family setting. In addition to Shabbat and holiday meals, we offer Torah classes twice a week, together with dinner. For some, the Thursday night cooking has become a much looked forward to part of their week, where they get the chance to explore their own culinary skills and learn about kosher. And of course, any time a student enters our home, a cold drink and snack is waiting for them.

We truly believe that Rafi's care for others, and his love of cooking and giving is felt in every item cooked in Rafi's Kitchen at Chabad UW. 

We have both a short term and long term goal for the kitchen. Short term goal is a $5,000 project of resurfacing the counters, installing a new sink and freshening the room with a new coat of paint.

Our long term goal is to renovate our kitchen to comfortably fit the 8-10 students who participate in Kosher Cuisine and help cook our weekly Shabbat dinner for 20-50 students. To do this, we need to expand the space to inclue dairy cooking space and put in commercial appliances.

The proposed kitchen will be a living memorial to Rafi by reflecting his character and his accomplishments—feeding the body and the soul.

 Please help with your generous donation. We truly want to make Rafi proud.

 

The current kitchen (before the new refrigerator), where a Shabbat meal for 60-70 students is cooked each week:

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