Who are we?
Lena Shapiro Flitman
Born in 1973 in Moscow. Lena was educated as a psychologist and mathematician and owns a kindergarten. In her spare time, Lena paints, mostly still life. “I paint the fruit and vegetables before we eat them, so I make sure to buy the most beautiful ones in the market,” she says with a smile.
Born in 1960 in Moscow. Oleg is a math and computer teacher. When he was young, Oleg worked a couple times as a cook for geological expeditions to Siberia, during which there were times he had to bake bread in an aviation gasoline barrel or cook pies over an open fire. He also worked as a fish cook and ever since, he is the one charged with preparing the salted trout. Sometimes, he also bakes the challah for Shabbat.
Born in 1985 in Moscow. Eliyahu has a Ph. D in history. Не studied ancient languages (such as Sumerian, Accadian, and Aramaic) and lives in Leipzig, Germany. According to his father, fruit jelly candy in the shape of bears is still one of his favorite foods.
Born in 1989 in Moscow and lives in Haifa. Esther works as an occupational therapist with the elderly and children with special needs. She graduated from two universities – one in Moscow (classical philology) and the other in Haifa (occupational therapy). In between she lived in Rome, where she improved her Italian, and worked as a volunteer in Ethiopia for six months. As such, she is an expert in coffee.
Born in 1992 in Moscow. Arkady lives in a shared apartment in the city and is involved in computer communications. His parents say that ever since he left home, Arkady has been calling his mother, Lena, at least once a week, to ask for recipes and consult with her on culinary matters.
Katya Rachel Flitman
Born in 1995 in Moscow. Katya is a graduate of the Department of Psychology and is a child caretaker. Katya, who is especially fond of her mother’s delicacies, often comes over to eat – especially when Lena bakes her favorite lemon cake.
Born in 2000 in Rehovot, Israel. Yaakov is Lena and Oleg’s eldest joint son. He works at a restaurant in Moscow as a wine steward (Sommelier).
Born in 2003 in Moscow. David graduated from high school last year and has since been assisting his mother, Lena, in the kindergarten. He loves baking and is known amongst friends and family for his wonderful cakes.
Born in 2005 in Moscow, on his father’s birthday, Yosef is a 10th grade student majoring in math and computers. He knows to make both of his favorite meals: stewed meat with beans and fried hazelnuts in caramel.
Born in 2010 in Moscow. Benyamin is a 3rd grade student at Perspectiva School in the city. Despite his young age, Benyamin is already cooking and baking on his own, especially when he is upset with his parents and hungry, as Lena and Oleg testify; He knows and likes to bake pizza and fry latkes.
Where was the photo taken?
“The kitchen is our living room, and the place we entertain anyone who comes to visit,” say Lena and Oleg, who live in Moscow with “three and a half” of their eight children. ‘Half’ because Yaakov does not sleep there every day they explain. They also have a dog, 3 cats, a rat, and a snake named Vivian. “Thus, we take care to never forget food on the kitchen table.”
Our family kitchen
Although Oleg worked as a cook when he was younger, the kitchen in the Khait-Shapiro household is Lena’s kingdom, who prepares soup daily for their family dinner. “She cooks in a very big pot so that there will be enough for everyone” says Oleg.
“I make borscht soup with beans just like Oleg’s mom,” says Lena. “The gefilte fish I make according to a recipe from my first husband’s mother: she was Russian but her husband’s mother was Jewish, and she inherited the recipe.”
One of the biggest hits on the family’s varied menu (“so that everyone has something to eat”) is the stonemason’s sandwich from the book “His House in the Desert” by Israeli author Meir Shalev: a loaf of bread filled to the brim with cheese, vegetables, garlic and olive oil. Ever since Lena read the book, she was inspired to make the sandwich to everyone’s delight.
The House Special: Lepyoshka-caucasian flatbread
The origin of the cheese pastry, which means “flat bread” (and it is also known as Hychin), is in the Caucasus region and Lena prepares it for Shavuot. “David, our son, says there are sweet things – and there are delicious things. Since all the other children want cheesecake with strawberries for the holiday, I was looking for a festive savory dish he would enjoy,” Lena says. She discovered this recipe through her good friend: the doula who helped give birth to David.