How Tova Feeds 900 Sons

Each school day for 25 years, Mrs. Tova Rottenberg has painstakingly planned and served her 900 “sons” some 3,000 freshly-cooked meals daily. Cheerfully greeting each student as she dishes out the main course, she then visits each table to chat – and make sure all her boys are eating well. As head of Boys Town Jerusalem’s food services (and “mother” to all), Tova lovingly nourishes every boy.

The war required some creative solutions

One of the now-few Israeli schools to prepare fresh meals on the premises, BTJ faced unprecedented challenges when war broke out in fall, Tova notes. With the dining hall shut by war restrictions, she mobilized students to devise creative solutions for providing school meals. “The boys were my partners in planning and wrapping sandwiches, fruit and desserts we prepared and brought to the classrooms those first tense weeks,” she recalled. “Gratefully, we could continue to provide fresh food to strengthen and nurture our students.”

Tova oversees the entire kitchen staff and daily menus

Today, Tova Rottenberg oversees the BTJ Kitchen crew of eight cooks, bakers and sous chefs who prepare three wholesome meals daily, complete with a salad bar boasting 20 fresh salads. Cakes, pizza, and ice cream are “homemade” to accompany the array of healthy, tasty meats, vegetables, soups and much more on BTJ students’ rich daily fare, including enriching menus for those with food allergies.

Cooking for the boys is how Tova cares for her “sons”

“In the BTJ cafeteria, I can give extra care to boys in crisis. We hire needy students to work in serving, preparing and clean-up. But from every single student, I demand courtesy, respect for classmates, and no wasting of food.”

For “Mother Tova,” her nourishing path to the hearts of her 900 sons (annually) is forged with love through BTJ Dining Room’s doors.