My husband and ate a deli dinner at Deli Days at the Congregation Ahavath Beth Israel Synagogue on Latah Street on June 26. Deli sandwiches, potato knish and a row of homemade desserts were just what we needed to start the weekend and give our attitudes an adjustment. We were ushered through the iron gates onto the property by a crack team of parking attendants—complete with walkie-talkies—to a parking spot that seemed to be waiting for just for us. We felt like we were part of the fold as soon as we hit the ground, surrounded by families with children running around and the smell of kosher meats in the air.
A nice lady took out order and we were instructed to follow a teen member of the congregation back to the kitchen and dining room. The stainless steel industrial kitchen was full of workers busily wrapping sandwiches, grilling hot dogs and bagging pickles, and we bonded with a nice couple who spoke with a thick East Coast accent when they noticed my husband’s Yankees ball cap. The man joked that we should “take care” of the gentleman outside sporting the Boston Red Sox attire, and we picked up our order of cold turkey sandwiches on rye, potato knish and a kosher pickle.
Patrons navigated through a maze of tables piled high with homemade desserts. I knew I’d be sorry if I didn’t snag the last baklava, and couldn’t pass up a piece of pineapple cake with cream cheese frosting. Mustering up all my will, I passed up the zucchini bread, cheesecake and cookies.
We were hungry and anxious to sample the Jewish fare, so we passed the beer and wine garden and wandered back out into the sunshine. Families meeting for dinner staked their claims at tables set on straw, and we watched in amusement as a lady wearing leopard print and sporting big dark hair and huge black sunglasses discussed the food and the scene with her silver-haired friend. The Moody Jews, a talented klezmer super group of musicians on drums, bass, piano and violin played an uplifting selection of music that had everyone dancing.
The turkey sandwich on rye was basic, but the meat was high quality and the homemade rye bread gave it an extra flavor. The potato knish smothered in mustard was warm and filling and I had to reserve one whole hand to hold the crunchy dill pickle.
Before we left, we took a self-guided tour of the historic synagogue. The woodwork and stained glass windows lend to the spiritual feeling, although the historical air of the synagogue is updated with an air-conditioned library in the bottom part of the building.
Deli Days is one of the organizations biggest fundraisers and next year we will look forward to dropping some more money in exchange for kosher food and a fun cultural experience.
Congregation Ahavath Beth Israel Synagogue, 11 N. Latah St., Boise, 208-343-6601, ahavathbethisrael.org.