The Jew And The Carrot

Thanksgiving Tzedakah: Pies for Prevention

By Alix Wall

  • Print
  • Share Share
Courtesy of Adeena Sussman
Pie Queen: Adeena Sussman poses with pumpkin pies she baked for her charity fundraiser, Pies for Prevention.

When sisters Sharon and Adeena started baking Thanksgiving pies five years ago to raise money for ovarian cancer (which claimed the lives of their mother and grandmother) they never imagined they would raise over $100,000.

But with a cadre of committed volunteers holding bake sales in 10 cities around the country, plus Toronto and Jerusalem this year, they’ve done just that.

“It gives me chills when I say it out loud,” Adeena Sussman said.

Her mother Stephanie Sussman died of ovarian cancer in 2006 at the age of 62 and her grandmother Ann Nadrich, died in 2009, also of ovarian cancer.

While their father donated a Torah in his wife’s memory, and the family honored her by bringing cultural events to the community, the sisters wanted to do something more personal that embodied their mother.

Even though Stephanie Sussman worked full time, she was known for her legendary hospitality and Shabbat dinners. Adeena Sussman remembers waking up in the morning to see a freshly-baked challah, a pot of chicken soup and a kugel all resting on the stove, and thinking “When did she have time to do all of this?”

Chief rabbis and Nobel prize winners were some of those who ate at the Sussman’s. But it was not limited to them. There might also be some of her students from places abroad, who didn’t know what it was to be a Jew, and certainly not an Orthodox one.

The sisters thought baking pies in their mother and grandmother’s memories would be the perfect way to honor them.

“Pies [for Thanksgiving] are something that people love, but aren’t something people necessarily want to make themselves,” Sussman said. “So the convenience and cause dovetail really nicely.” The first year, they made $15,000.

They chose the Teaneck-based organization Sharsheret to be the recipient of the money, both because it helps Jewish women who are facing breast and ovarian cancer, and because when Sharon Wieder (nee Sussman) was diagnosed with breast cancer Sharsheret was a resource for her.

Baking pies come naturally to the sisters; who both pursued careers in food because of their mother’s influence. Sussman is a recipe developer, author and food stylist (her articles appear regularly in the Forward’s food section), and Wieder is a nutritionist. The first year, it was just the two of them in Wieder’s Teaneck kitchen, baking as many pies and loaves of pumpkin bread as they could (all kosher, though not certified).

Year by year, word spread about what they were doing, and people who either knew the sisters or had been touched by cancer either made donations to support the bakers’ raw materials, or started holding bake sales on their own.

“People just really enjoy doing it,” said Sussman. The act of baking pies to raise money for this is “unpretentious, unassuming and effective, like our mom. It’s based on food and fills a need and is really fun to do,” she said, adding that most people bake with a partner.

Cuisinart stepped in as a sponsor, and has donated large-scale mixers to the bakers. The boxes are donated as well, and each pie comes with information about Sharsheret.

Recipes are provided by the sisters as well as instructions on to how to run the sale. “Everything is as turn-key as possible,” said Sussman. So far, they have sold close to 5,000 pies.

Yifat Levin, who shares a sister-in-law of Wieder, is taking part for her third time this year, selling pies in Atlanta. She has a few volunteers helping her bake.

“It’s exciting to be working with them and helping them raise money for a charity that’s important to them. It’s very gratifying fundraising,” said Levin.

Pies will also be available for the first time in Toronto this year, thanks to Adina Lipson, an old friend of Sussman’s. Having eaten pies from the fundraiser in previous years, she was eager to take part, and asked a friend to help.

“The only challenge I was concerned about was that here in Toronto, we are missing the ‘Thanksgiving’ component, being that Canadian Thanksgiving is celebrated in October. But we decided that the pies could be promoted as a Shabbat dessert, at least, and when we realized that this year brought the Thanksgivukkah phenomenon to the fore, we decided to market them for Hanukkah as well. In fact, we added a Hanukkah brownie pie to the option list.”

She added, “And then, of course, there are always the Americans living in Canada like me, who could certainly use a pecan pie or two to help keep American Thanksgiving alive and well in our homes in Canada.”

If all this talk about pie is making you want to place an order, here’s the important information: Deadlines are different depending on the city. To find out deadlines, prices and whether a sale is happening in your city visit Pies for Prevention.


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: thanksgivukkah, pies for prevention, thanksgiving

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.




Find us on Facebook!
  • BREAKING NEWS: Israel has officially suspended peace talks with the Palestinians.
  • Can you guess what the most boring job in the army is?
  • What the foolish rabbi of Chelm teaches us about Israel and the Palestinian unity deal:
  • Mazel tov to Idina Menzel on making Variety "Power of Women" cover! http://jd.fo/f3Mms
  • "How much should I expect him and/or ask him to participate? Is it enough to have one parent reciting the prayers and observing the holidays?" What do you think?
  • New York and Montreal have been at odds for far too long. Stop the bagel wars, sign our bagel peace treaty!
  • Really, can you blame them?
  • “How I Stopped Hating Women of the Wall and Started Talking to My Mother.” Will you see it?
  • Taglit-Birthright Israel is redefining who they consider "Jewish" after a 17% drop in registration from 2011-2013. Is the "propaganda tag" keeping young people away?
  • Happy birthday William Shakespeare! Turns out, the Bard knew quite a bit about Jews.
  • Would you get to know racists on a first-name basis if you thought it might help you prevent them from going on rampages, like the recent shooting in Kansas City?
  • "You wouldn’t send someone for a math test without teaching them math." Why is sex ed still so taboo among religious Jews?
  • Russia's playing the "Jew card"...again.
  • "Israel should deal with this discrimination against Americans on its own merits... not simply as a bargaining chip for easy entry to the U.S." Do you agree?
  • For Moroccan Jews, the end of Passover means Mimouna. Terbhou ou Tse'dou! (good luck) How do you celebrate?
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.