Aviva Rotenberg started a Facebook group, “Ottawa Kosher Foodies,” less than six months ago as a forum to discuss “anything Ottawa, kosher, and food.” The lively discussion group has been a hit in the community and now boasts more than 500 members.
Rotenberg said she created the Facebook group because she believed there was a real “hole” for foodies, especially kosher foodies, in Ottawa.
“Anytime I would try to talk to people about the kosher food scene I would hear things like, ‘There isn’t much of a scene’ or ‘There isn’t really anything to talk about,’ and I didn’t agree with that at all. So I thought there was a real need to have something like that in Ottawa,” she said.
While most of the group’s members are from Ottawa, there are also some from Toronto and Montreal, a few from Israel, and even one from Peru, she said.
Rotenberg said that while most discussions in the group centre on sourcing kosher ingredients, other topics include recipes, food ideas and special foodie events. Rotenberg has introduced a spotlight feature, where she travels to different stores in Ottawa to find products that she says “aren’t typical for kosher and are maybe not so easy to find.” She takes photos of the products and posts them to the group.
Rotenberg runs the Facebook group with her brother-in-law, Moshe Grunfeld. While Rotenberg says she is the “main driver” of the group, Grunfeld contributes content and helps people join.
According to Rotenberg, while the community is positive, fun and friendly, one area of discussion that is “a bit of a danger zone” is differing standards of kashrut.
“Some people might think one kind of kosher is OK, while others might think it’s not. This group is not the place to debate that,” she explained. “I don’t want anyone to feel that they are not welcome in the group because their standards are higher or lower.”
Rotenberg said the local kosher food community has been supportive of the group, especially Babi’s Restaurant at the Soloway Jewish Community Centre and Rideau Bakery, both of which are members of the group.
While Ottawa Kosher Foodies has grown to over 500 members, Rotenberg says she believes it is still very much in the infancy stage.
“There are a lot of directions it could go, so we are taking the pulse of what the group needs and is interested in.”
The aim of the group, according to Rotenberg, is to get people from across Ottawa’s Jewish community talking and sharing what they know with each other.
“It’s also about seeing that you can live in the world and maintain your standards on a Jewish level, whatever your standards may be,” she said.
Visit Ottawa Kosher Foodies on Facebook to join the group.