325 pounds of corned beef…
100 loaves of rye bread…
1,000 pickles, cups of coleslaw and cans of Dr. Brown’s cream soda…
It’s the basic shopping list for Temple of Israel’s second annual Corned Beef Sandwich Sale, set to return in October. Organizers Laurie Janus, Sandy Apple and Richard Lerner review orders at the Reibman Center for Kehillahon Market Street one sunny afternoon, alongside Melanie Frank, former president of Temple of Israel, Robert Sniderman and Peggy Pancoe Rosoff.
“It’s the same order [as last year],” Janus says. “Last year we sold just under 900 sandwiches, and this year we’re trying to sell 1,000.”
The tasty (and beefy) sammies are made with Apple Annie’s rye bread, corned beef from a purveyor in Baltimore and served with pickle, packets of spicy mustard and creamy coleslaw on the side. Even down to the ice-cold cream soda (regular or diet), for which Publix is supplying at a discount, completes the traditional, kosher NY-deli meal.
“I had a hard time finding the Dr. Brown’s soda, to be honest with you,” Frank says. “We do like to reach out to local vendors. Though, I know we’re getting our corned beef from Baltimore … but that’s closer to New York than here!”
The brainchild of Sandy Apple, like many northern transplants she missed the true sandwiches known at well-known delis across the Big Apple.
“It’s really New York-style,” she affirms. “It tastes like it’s from New York . . . with sour pickles, seeded rye bread. . . . It’s like going to Carnegie or Katz or whatever. And people liked it. I got calls before we even started this year, ‘When are you going to do your corned beef sandwiches?’”
“And this year the rye bread will have seeds in it,” Rosoff adds. “We didn’t have seeds last year and people said, ‘Where are the seeds?’”
“But don’t say the bread’s seedy,” Lerner interjects with a laugh. “It’s just the right amount of seeds.”
The group is preparing for two days of nonstop prepping and assembly, which requires 30 or 40 volunteers and lots of planning leading up to October 10’s pickup day (orders are taken through October 2). They start by weighing their meat and cutting the foil for sandwiches, to filling 1,000 to-go ramekins with coleslaw on Oct. 9. They then return bright and early the next day, around 7 a.m., to have orders ready by 10 a.m. Multiple assembly lines on “sandwich day” hustle to meet the demand.
“Folks are on coleslaw duty, pickle duty, wrapping duty,” Janus lists. “And when we were finished [last year], we were all like, ‘Oh my God! Did we just do that?’ . . . It really was fun. Everyone got into the spirit—there is so much to do but we had so many people. It was great.”
In the past their congregation tried other fundraisers and community events, like movie nights, but the sandwiches really cut the mustard, so to speak. They wanted to find something more fun and engaging for their congregation to be involved with, but also that reached out to the greater Wilmington community.
“We really wanted it to be for the public,” Franks says. “This is great for the community, and we don’t just cater to the Jewish population. . . . We put a lot of love into this—a lot of Jewish love; the desire to feed, but also to spread the word about our religious school for children and being in the community. It’s a very communal feeling when you eat together.”
The fundraiser falls amid the Jewish High Holy Days; Rosh Hashanah commemorates the creation of the world and marks the beginning of the Days of Awe, a 10-day period of introspection and repentance that culminates in the Yom Kippur holiday, also known as the Day of Atonement. Monies raised will go Temple of Israel’s Sunday school, of which are open to the public, and Hebrew school on Thursdays.
“The need for fundraising is to really continue religious education for our children,” Frank iterates.
On October 10, folks can come in through the one-way “drive thru” at the Temple of Israel’s Reibman Center parking lot entry at Market and 10th around back; volunteers will bring out orders. For orders of 10 or more, group or parties, deliveries are between 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.
“A lot of the neighborhoods like Plantation Village ordered 20 or 25 sandwiches,” Janus recalls. “We had schools, we have the Democratic headquarters, doctors offices, churches, we had UNCW—there were a lot.”
Temple of Israel’s Second Annual Corned Beef Sandwich Sale orders can be made online at www.temple-of-israel.org or with a mail-in order form from their Facebook event page. Folks should pre-order sandwiches by October 2 for pickup or delivery on October 10.