At most of my appearances, I talk about my life. Talk about my food. Talk about my friends. So if you’ve seen any of my presentations, you’ve heard me rave about Rabbi Lawrence. As I morphed from non-religious TV producer to sheitel-wearing kosher cookbook author, Rabbi L. and his fab wife Anita were right there for me.
C’mon. You’ve heard of Anita -- my terrific friend, neighbor, and inspiration for girls who grill. I talk about her all the time. Anyway, after I became engaged, I dragged Hubby-to-be to Monsey to meet them. Been like one big happy family ever since.
Now that I’m doing the kosher food scene full time -- questions about kosher food and holiday customs always come up. Hey, I got religious, but I’m no rabbi! I have no problem admitting that I don’t always have all the answers. (According to Hubby this is such a rare confession that he wants to frame it.) I thought about it – who do I know who is qualified, accessible (and fun)? I was stumped for a while. So I closed my eyes and clicked my heels together. Before I could say, “There’s no place like home,” it hit me! He’s been there all the time. Why not go for the best of the best?
Ladies and gents, allow me to introduce the Official Rabbi of Joy of Kosher: Rabbi Lawrence Hajioff.
Funniest rabbi on the planet. And his humor gets the perfect umph from his British accent, which you won’t be able to hear when you read his answers, but which you will be able to hear when you see him on my cooking videos. I guess it’s a British thing, but he often says “darling” – and you’ve got to love a rabbi who can say darling to everybody and get away with it. He calls his wife Princess, and while I’m spilling stuff, I’ll mention that he is Sephardic and took a lot of ribbing from neighbors when he and Anita had four girls one after the other. Finally had their boy, and not a minute too soon. (It’s a Sephardi thing.)
Not to mention that he has a wicked laugh, can impersonate Austin Powers pretty well, dressed up as Ali G a few purims ago, interned at MTV and wears a Hermes with a big H that he insists stands for Hashem (or Hajioff).
Now for his official stats… Rabbi Lawrence has smicha from Ohr Someyach in Monsey NY, is the Educational Director aka Chief Spiritual Officer at the Jewish Enrichment Center in NYC and is the Rabbi for Birthright Israel in NY (and now here with us at Jok.com!).
Originally from London, England, Rabbi Lawrence Hajioff graduated with honors in political science from Manchester University. After working for two years for MTV in news production, and winning the national competition ‘Jewish Stand-Up Comedian of the Year’, Rabbi Hajioff traveled to study in Israel and then Monsey to receive his rabbinical smicha ordination from Yeshiva Ohr Somayach.
He’s already warned me that he loathes to lift a finger in the kitchen (“Princess” does it all), but he does love great food. Good enough for me. I’ll be shooting a few videos with him soon so you can get to know him. He will be writing for us regularly about all things kosher and is here to answer all your Qs, day and night.
Well, rather you can submit them day and night by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject: Ask the Rabbi and he will answer them as soon as he can, ok?
So excited – can’t wait to watch our resident rabbi in action! Now there’s nothing that JoK can’t handle. Bring it on, people…
Here are some links to help you get to know Rabbi Lawrence a little better including some fantastic classes.
"The Jewish Home: Where Kindness Begins" http://jeconline.com/media/video/jewishhomekindnessflv-0
"Health and Healing in Judaism" on eating right http://jeconline.com/media/video/health-and-healingflv
A video on Tisha be'av...really on Shalom Bayit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u8ZOjb0FKfQ