by eating in a trendy California-style restaurant? So what’s the deal?
Situated in the business district
of Tel Aviv, Lilith Restaurant offers a diverse choice of dairy and fish
dishes based on fresh local ingredients. But if you take a look around, you
will see mostly young people waiting the tables, and tending the bar. If
you were to go “backstage”, you would meet a young kitchen staff. These
people are part of the Lilith Restaurant Project.
The young people staffing Lilith are
receiving on-the-job training in the culinary arts and restaurant management.
They are part of a growing group of adolescents in metropolitan Tel Aviv
who are unable to integrate into a regular schooling framework. The dynamic
hands-on training program affords them the opportunity to learn to work,
take responsibility and then eventually become self-supporting adults.
ELEM, the organization behind the
Lilith Restaurant Project, developed this socio-business
enterprise to train disenfranchised youth in a sheltered environment. Key
to the program’s success is the carefully-chosen professional staff who not
only train the youth, but act as mentors and role models. In a country where
the concept of corporate responsibility is at an early stage, the opportunity
for the public to build awareness in this grassroots experience of giving
is important in itself.
Homeless and runaway youth — from
all socio-economic levels — are a growing problem in Israel. Israeli author
Grossman’s latest book (forthcoming in English), Someone to Run With,
focuses on homeless and runaway youth. Grossman won the Sapir Prize for this
work of investigative fiction, one third of which he donated to ELEM.
In the end though, if the food and
service are not well-prepared and professional, people will not return. Ambience
too is critical. “The candlelit tables are made from square wood blocks,
the comfortable chairs have cozy ivory cushions. One wall is all glass looking
out to a street and another houses the long impressive well stocked bar. A
small window behind the bar offers a peek into the kitchen,” explains one
very satisfied diner.
Says frequent patron, Amira Platt,
“I love the concept, the food and the relaxed atmosphere. The servers are
very professional and they give good descriptions. The salads are wonderful.
I like California style food. The concept is important, but the food brings