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Judy’s Kindness Kitchen is a soup kitchen preparing meals for distribution at Crossroads Rhode Island, in downtown Providence. 

Judy’s Kindness Kitchen is a Sunday soup kitchen that was established in November 2004.  Food is prepared at The Jewish Community Center at 401 Elmgrove Avenue on the East Side of Providence and is served at Crossroads Rhode Island in downtown Providence. Since November 2013, in addition to serving food at Crossroads, we have also been delivering food to the Emanuel House Homeless Shelter in Providence.  We are an all-volunteer, nonprofit organization and we’d love to have you join us!


According to Jewish tradition, “Ohel Avraham” (the tent of the patriarch Abraham) had four entrances, each facing one of the four directions, so that those in need would behold the promise of relief from every side. Judy's Kindness Kitchen seeks to emulate the example of Abraham by providing  meals to our neighbors in need.

Our goal is to run a soup kitchen that:

• provides warm, nourishing meals in a locale that is convenient to those in need
• strengthens our Providence community by encouraging members of different groups to work together
• secures funding and a broad volunteer commitment to assure sustainability over the long-term

Why: Crossroads Rhode Island, the largest homeless services organization in the state, provides for those in need in the Providence area, but no meals were served on Sunday.  Judy's Kindness Kitchen has offered to prepare and serve a warm meal at Crossroads on Sunday.  Since November 2013, in addition to serving food at Crossroads, we have also been delivering food to the Emanuel House Homeless Shelter in Providence.

Where: Jewish Community Center, 401 Elmgrove Avenue, Providence RI. (Directions).  Meals are prepared in the institutional kitchen and served in downtown Providence at the Crossroads center.

When: Sunday Morning, food preparation from 8:15 am to 9:30 am.  Food is served at Crossroads from 10:00 am to 11:30.

What: A warm, nourishing Kosher meal (hearty vegetarian soup and tuna and peanut butter sandwiches). We prepare 500 sandwiches and 150 cups of soup.

Who: The soup kitchen is open to all (guests and volunteers) without regard to race, sex, religion, ethnic background or age. We are staffed entirely by volunteers and based at Congregation Beth Sholom, an Orthodox Jewish synagogue, in partnership with Crossroads Rhode Island, the largest homeless services organization in the state.

How: The soup kitchen was founded by Barry Bessler and Deborah Kutenplon and the Congregation Beth Sholom Social Action Committee.

Outreach - Our web site, designed and maintained by MoonRivers MEDIA, is an important link between Judy's Kindness Kitchen and our community of guests, volunteers and supporters. Ongoing outreach will occur through Crossroads Rhode Island. 

Funding – Grants and donations, both monetary and in-kind, support Judy’s Kindness Kitchen. Vic Werber and Dr. David Mandelbaum are major supporters, in honor of Judy Mandelbaum, after whom the soup kitchen is named.

Upon reading about Judy you'll understand why Judy's Kindness Kitchen is such a perfect way to honor her memory.

Judy, her brother Victor and their parents, Freda
and Murray Werber, at Victor's Bar Mitzvah in 1942

Judy age 31, after having 5 kids

The Providence connection: Judy's father, Murray Werber, came to Providence from Russia in 1907, at the age of 3. He lived in the University Heights area and attended Hope High School for a year, then moved with his family to New York in 1918.  Judy's son, David, came to Providence from New Jersey in 2003.

Her parents elope: In New York Murray fell in love with Freda Perlberg and they eloped when Freda was 15 years old and Murray was 19!  Freda snuck out of the house to get married (she borrowed her sister's fur piece).  It was predicted that the marriage wouldn't last a year; it lasted until Murray died 70 years later.  Judy was born about a year after the wedding, when Freda was 16.  Her brother Victor was born 5 years later.

Jewish Education for Girls: Judy was in the first class of the Shulamith Hebrew School for Girls in Boro Park and later attended Crown Heights Yeshiva.  She was among the first graduates of a Hebrew Teacher's College, Beit Midrash L'Morot.

Judy's family: Judy married Rabbi Bernard Mandelbaum in 1945. He was a rabbinical student at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America at the time.  They had 5 children: Joel, Dasi, David, Debbie and Naomi.  (Debbie and Naomi are identical twins and the obstetrician did not tell the expecting couple they were having twins until after the first baby was delivered; it was a different world).  There are 10 grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren.

Professional accomplishments: While still raising her children, Judy attended Teacher's College of Columbia University, getting a Masters in Guidance.  She later earned an MSW from Adelphi University and studied Family Therapy at the Ackerman Institute (when Dr. Nathan Ackerman was still teaching), a revolutionary concept at the time.  She worked as a Family Therapist at the Jewish Board of Family Services until she became ill.  She tragically died from cancer in 1980, at the age of 56.

Memories: On top of all her accomplishments, everyone who knew Judy comments on how beautiful she was. She was the most gracious host. She understood that sharing meals with loved ones provides not just physical but emotional sustenance as well.  Her marble cake, chulunt and vegetable soup were legendary and our Passover Seder was a glorious event.  Judy's home was a perfect reflection of her: beautiful and, at the same time, warm and welcoming.  She was the best mom a kid could have and she is still missed every day.

Rabbi Haskel Lookstein, speaking at Judy's funeral, concluded:  "She died on erev Shabbat, after a life of labor, struggle and accomplishment.  Her six days were abbreviated but they were full of beauty and achievement, elegance and competence, love and piety."

Ayshet Chayil Mi Yimtza... V'at Aleet Al Kulanah...
A Woman of Valor Who Shall Find... And You Surpass Them All...

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