Aug. 31, 2020

Jake Cohen on Exodus 16:5 – “Food: The Source of Jewish Community”

In today’s episode, Mark is delighted to welcome Jake Cohen, chef, food writer, and culinary influencer, who has also held the position of Food Editor of as well as Food Critic for Time Out New York. Jake is currently the Editorial and Test Kitchen Director at The Feedfeed, the largest food driven social media publication, and is working on his first cookbook, JEW-ISH. The passage he has chosen to discuss with Mark is Exodus 16:5.

Jake starts off by explaining why this passage is meaningful to him, how he prepares for and practices Shabbat, and how Jewish hospitality is portrayed to the world. He and Mark discuss the Torah idea of ‘you are what you eat’, explore differing perspectives on the concept of being kosher, and then Jake shares details of his Jewish upbringing, and his personal example of the role that food plays in building community. He then gives a glimpse into his upcoming book, offers examples of what is considered Israeli food, and relates his favorite aspect of Jewish food that has come to a head during the time of quarantine. Jake’s lessons about mankind are also presented which lead to a review of Shabbat and purposeful rest, and the OneTable organization. All that Jake shares here regarding his sacred task of helping people to love Shabbat provides yet another shining example of the Torah’s relevance and value today and, really, throughout all time.

Episode Highlights:

  • Why this passage is meaningful to Jake
  • How Jake prepares for and practices Shabbat
  • How Jewish hospitality is portrayed to the world
  • The Torah idea of ‘you are what you eat’ or ‘you become what you eat’
  • Differing perspectives on the concept of being kosher
  • Jake’s Jewish upbringing
  • Jake’s example from his family of the role that food plays in building community
  • His upcoming book, JEW-ISH
  • Examples of Israeli food
  • Jake’s favorite aspect of Jewish food that has come to a head during the pandemic quarantine
  • The lessons Jake has learned about mankind
  • Shabbat and purposeful rest


“I think there’s really one word that talks to me in this passage, and that’s the concept of preparation, and it’s about the preparation of Shabbat.”

“Creating a moment of, kind of, gathering and breaking bread that is so traditionally Jewish. It’s this Jewish ritual that most people I host would not celebrate on their own, and I’m creating a space, and preparing a space in which they’re able to do it in a way that fits their lives.”

“Hospitality is essential to what it means to be a Jew.”

“By full authority as the Rabbi’s Husband, a Rueben is kosher.”

“I personally find that creating a meal, creating an experience around this day of Shabbat and this…special meal is what makes it sacred.”

“You’re doing a sacred task by helping people to love Shabbat. That’s a sacred task.”

“You’re enjoying Shabbat – that’s the substance…focus on the substance.”

“The key part of why we turned to Jewish ritual was this concept of community.”

“The fundamental principle of Judaism is the community.”

“I think food was definitely this unifier, as it always will be.”

“We have a holiday every week…it’s magical.”

Exodus 16:5 But on the sixth day, when they apportion what they have brought in, it shall prove to be double the amount they gather each day.”


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