Are you a Jewish foodie? Or you just love to cook?

On March 15th from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., 20 members of NextGen — Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia’s affinity for ages 21-45 — will take over the kitchen at Temple Beth Zion-Beth Israel in Rittenhouse Square to cook nourishing kosher meals for homebound older adults. The meals, prepared lovingly from scratch, are packaged and picked up by KleinLife, which then distributes them to individuals in the greater Philadelphia area unable to prepare food for themselves due to illness or poverty.

The Cook for a Friend program, which always sells out quickly, requires no expert cooking skills but provides a fun, creative opportunity to perform a mitzvah. “People tend to enjoy being hands on and feeling like they’re really part of something,” explains NextGen Director Melanie Gerchberg. “The fact that they’re cooking with love and providing for people within the community gives them the chance to see the impact and have a good time while doing it.”

Cook For a Friend can be a great social way for a budding chef or enthusiastic foodie to explore new recipes and ingredients. Volunteers can contribute in any way they want, by planning the menu, chopping vegetables or even just by lending a hand in the cleanup process. As Melanie explains, these kinds of altruistic events are increasingly appealing for young people interested in active Jewish philanthropy.

“Cook For a Friend allows NextGen constituents to really be involved in a way they want to be,” she said. “They want to be much more present than just by writing a check.”

Click here to sign up for Cook For a Friend. For more information, contact To find out more about NextGen, click here.