You would think that being a wife and mother of five and working with husband Shlomo’s marriage counseling business would keep 37-year-old Rivka Slatkin pretty busy. You would think.
But Slatkin, who also used to run her own business, Jewish Life Organized, before those five kids started coming along, has another project on her plate: the Charm City Kosher Cooking Competition, set for Feb. 25 at Cheder Chabad of Baltimore.
Slatkin grew up in Silver Spring, Md., and attended Yeshiva High School of Greater Washington, after which she went to Israel for a year and then majored in health administration at the Univeristy of Maryland, Baltimoe County. There, she met her husband through a friend.
“My husband’s family is, like, born and raised in Baltimore for over 100 years. When I met his family, I fell in love with them, his parents and him included,” Slatkin said. “So I decided to move to Baltimore, and we thought we would stay here and create our family here.”
The couple, married in 2001, now live in Pikesville/Greenspring with their children and attend The Shul at the Lubavitch Center.
How are you involved with Shlomo’s counseling business?
I do the marketing for the Marriage Restoration Project. Four times a year, we run the Getting the Love You Want Workshop. I co-run that with Shlomo, as a presenter, because it’s not like a therapy weekend, it’s more of education. The couples really do a lot of exercises, and we walk them through the process and do demos; we teach through modeling. It’s a very powerful two-day retreat. There’s one coming up Jan. 14 and 15 at the Towson Marriott.
Why a kosher cooking contest?
I have four children in this wonderful school, Cheder Chabad, and it is a unique school in that their way to educate children is through an emphasis on giving back to the community. I’m very passionate about the school, because it’s really teaching the kids to all be leaders and to give back.
Together with the school, we came up with this idea — the Charm City Kosher Cooking Competition, which has three aspects. One is Jewish unity, because all Jews around Baltimore are invited to come and eat and cook together at this event, whether or not they keep kosher in their own home. The second part is giving back to local businesses because there are so many businesses getting involved in sponsoring this. I want to help them draw attention to their businesses, which boosts the local economy. The third part is, it’s a fundraiser for Cheder Chabad. I want to give back to the Chabad, creating a children’s scholarship fund at the school.
What’s the event like?
Every contestant raises a certain amount of money in order to be able to compete. It’s Feb. 25. Doors will open at 5:30. Some really great chefs in town are making food for the buffet, including Daniel Neuman [former chef at Serengeti]. People can come and watch the competition and enjoy a really fun night out and drink and eat. There will also be chef demonstrations during the competition. So you can walk up to a chef and have a sample of what they’re doing. And we will be having 30 to 40 contestants competing, so that’s also something fun to watch.
Do you have a first-year goal?
We are excited! We’re forecasting the ability to reach $36,000, which would enable us to give scholarships to about five children. Any support is going to a good cause.
You’re busy. How do you stay motivated?
Because of the cause: I’m so passionate about saving marriages. So passionate. And I’m also very passionate about Cheder Chabad. When you’re driven by a passion, you wake up every morning and it’s easy to do your work. So, that’s kind of my life. That’s how I stay motivated.
What about fun?
I enjoy drinking wine and relaxing, just being at home or going out with a friend. I’m a foodie, so eating well is also relaxing.