November 30, 2009

In a Sign of the Times, Upscale Restaurant is Converted into Soup Kitchen Brooklyn

NY…Coney Island Avenue (between Avenues J &K) is perhaps a good location for an upscale restaurant like Rimonim. The street on both sides includes several restaurants including Mendy’s, bagel stores, and a gourmet fruit market. But Rimonim faltered and the beneficiary was the third citywide soup kitchen operated by Masbia and funded by the Met Council on Jewish Poverty. On the eve of Thanksgiving, elected officials joined community leaders in a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the location which still looks every part the upscale restaurant it was designed to be. William Rapfogel, Executive Vice President of Met Council, was expecting as many as 70 families to use the location within days. Many would be referred by the local Jewish Community Council, according to Rabbi Ezkiel Pikus, who heads the Council. Oddly, the area also includes the Center for Kosher Culinary Arts (CKCA); whose students spanning all three professional courses at CKCA ( will be donating their time at the soup kitchen after they complete classes. The soup kitchen is directly across from the school. The Flatbush Masbia Community Kitchen is one of several Masbia soup kitchens to be opened in the New York area. The first Masbia soup kitchen opened in Boro Park last year, and recently another opened in Williamsburg. The next one will be located in Queens' Rego Park neighborhood. The project is under the management of Alexander Rapaport, executive director of Masbia. Met Council secured funding for the site from the Robbins family.