Chag Notebook: Andrea Grinberg

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Andrea Grinberg is the co-owner of Wrapunzel, a business that sells beautiful head coverings for the global Jewish community. Earlier this year I was browsing YouTube, looking for inspiring Jewish media, when I found Andrea’s channel. She instantly charmed me. I was touched by how much meaning she’s found in Judaism and how her business is in service to our Jewish female community.

Her work aligns with my desire to create more beautiful Jewish objects for women, so I was excited when she agreed to be interview for this series. Let’s get to know Andrea and learn from her.

Tell us a bit about yourself

I was born in Toronto, moved to Israel, and am now living in Baltimore with my husband. I’m a professional cellist and also the co-owner of Wrapunzel, an online head covering community.  For fun I love to bike, read, make and eat delicious food, and spend good quality time with myself, my creator, my family, and my friends.

How do you connect to Judaism?

I am a ba’al teshuva convert (long story). I actually grew up as the family atheist, and am now a very proud Jewish woman trying to be the best Andrea possible in this crazy, incredible world!  My husband and I are an interesting combination of Ashkenaz and Sephardic minhagim, with lots of deep kabbalistic stuff in there as well!

How do you prepare to host people for a holiday meal or celebration?

Honestly, I think I just get a lot of help from G-d because I really don’t do much! I usually plan the meal and go shopping the night before, and cook the day of. I’m a big fan of easy and fresh, so I would rather roast my potatoes to perfection instead of making a kugel. There’s always homemade zchug on the table. I often serve lots of fresh, colorful salads with adventurous dressing, colorful grains, roasted veggies, and yummy caramelized eggplant with tehina (and sometimes ground meat!) on top. My husband usually takes care of the meat because hey, he’s Argentinian and quite an expert. Often I do fruit with melted chocolate drizzled on top for dessert. SOOOOO yummy! Oh, and seriously none of this would get done without my husband’s help—he rocks my world!

Leading up to, during, and after the holidays, how do you reconnect with yourself?

I remember that even though cooking is a very physical act, it is really much more spiritual than physical. Everyone that eats it can feel the thoughts and feelings we put into our food. In the end, “perfection” is not what we hope for—we only hope to make our home warm, inviting, and full of love! We always make sure that in our meals, we nourish the body and the soul. And I am so grateful for each and every one of our guests that chooses to spend their meals with us.

What is one of your most memorable holiday experiences?

When my husband and I got married, we lived in a teensy studio apartment in Chicago for two years. We hosted eight people there for our first Pesach, made possible with a folding table, futon, and chairs. We went late into the night, and it was such a holy bonding experience. You could literally taste the presence of the divine! I will always remember cooking with my in-laws in our tiny kitchen beforehand and being so surprised that we managed not to get in each other’s way!

How does the ideal holiday celebration look and feel to you?

I LOVE hearing people’s stories—their deepest thoughts and feelings. There’s something about bonding over food that causes our inner walls to come down. My husband and I always try to ask questions that don’t prod, but instead invite our guests to open up if they would like. We’re always so surprised and humbled by the stories that come out at our table!

What’s your absolute favorite holiday dish?

Homemade chummous! We make tons of it in one batch (with a huge stock pot!) and there’s usually none left after everyone is through with it!

I am OBSESSED with making homemade dips in general: chummous, smokey hatzilim (babaganoush), olive tapenade, sundried tomato dip, pesto, garlic artichoke paste… I’m drooling as I type this! And ALWAYS served with warm bread!

Andrea, thank you for sharing. I particularly loved your comment about people being able to feel the emotions that go into the food we cook.

This post is part of our Chag Notebook series where we interview inspiring women and men about their approach to the holidays. What stood out to you in Andrea’s responses?



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