The Weiner Family. Photography: Boaz Arad
The Weiner Family. Photography: Boaz Arad

We Call Grandma and Change Everything

The Weiner family from Berlin are kosher vegetarians, who live by the phrase "the more the merrier".

חמין הפטריות של משפחת ויינר. צילום: בועז ארד
Without meat, without bones, and still rich and full of flavor. The Weiner Family’s Mushroom Cholent.

Who are we?

Naomi Weiner
Born in 1988 in Paris. Works at ‘Shakespeare and Sons’ bookstore and cafe in Berlin. As someone who grew up in a French home and loves food – how could she not? – Naomi discovered the delicacies of Jewish cuisine only after converting to Judaism, and especially after meeting and marrying Josh. Naomi is vegetarian, she loves raw tahini and uses it as a dressing for pretty much everything.

Josh Weiner
Born in 1985 in Jerusalem. Josh moved with his parents to London when he was five years old. In 2014 he relocated to Berlin, was ordained as a rabbi, and now teaches Judaism. As a child Josh was in charge of preparing the family’s Shabbat table headed by his father, the Rabbi. Every week, dozens of guests were invited to the family’s table, but there was always room for more. Even today in Berlin, Josh and Naomi continue this tradition – the only difference is that the menu does not include meat, since Josh is also a vegetarian, “as was Rabbi Kook”.

Their son:
Born in 2020 in Berlin – Amitai is already quite the glutton, his happy parents attest. Amitai is a big fan of semolina porridge with dried fruit. He prefers spinach over cabbage, and despite his young age he eats everything he can put in his mouth. But most of all he likes to play in the kitchen and drum on the pots.

Where was the photo taken? 

The Weiner family’s kitchen, in Berlin’s Kreuzberg district, is so small that Naomi and Josh cook in shifts. “Approaching Shabbat, while I am shopping in the market, Naomi kneads the challah dough,” says Josh. When I arrive back home Naomi leaves the kitchen and it’s my turn to make the cholent or soup. When I finish – we take turns again, and she puts the challah in the oven.”

“I bake the challah according to a recipe Josh’s mom gave me,” says Naomi proudly.

נועמי ואמיתי ויינר. צילום: בועז ארד
Namoi and Amitai Weiner. Photography: Boaz Arad

Our family kitchen

In view of keeping kosher and sticking to a vegetarian kitchen, Naomi and Josh prefer to eat at home. “We enjoy entertaining and so, through the food we prepare, we make new connections,” says Josh. “In fact, we never really know how many guests to expect for Shabbat– it depends on who we meet at our synagogue, Fraenkelufer.”

They acquired the craft of cooking and baking mostly on their own, also due to how far they are from the rest of their family. “Before the holidays, I call my mother or grandfather and ask how to make this and that – and then I change everything,” says Josh with a smile. “Grandmother, for example, has a recipe for tzimmes, a carrot and raisin stew, but she makes it with beef. Since we are vegetarians, I replaced the meat with root vegetables.” Josh also makes Hummus himself, “but only when I have enough energy to wash all the dishes afterwards.”

ג׳וש ויינר קוצץ ירקות להכנת החמין. צילום: בועז ארד
Josh chops vegetables for the cholent. Photograpy: Boaz Arad

The house recipe: Mushroom cholent

Just as there is no Sabbath without challah at the Weiner’s, not a weekend goes by without a vegetarian cholent. The meat in the traditional recipe is replaced with oyster mushrooms, “They are similar to meat in texture and even in taste,” says Josh. Until the pandemic outbreak, Josh led the “Berlin Tish” – a series of Sabbath study sessions around the stew. “Unfortunately, these days we host less,” says Naomi. “But we still cook this mushroom stew.” This recipe is very flexible, depending on the size of your crockpot and the vegetables currently in season.

Get the Weiner Family recipe for Mushroom Cholent

*שמנו לב שחסרים כמה פרטים קטנים להשלמת הפרופיל שלך ב־FOODISH, אפשר להוסיף אותם בקלות בעמוד המשתמש שלך.