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Kosher Mobile Kitchen Opens at Canada’s First National Park

Banff is a popular vacation town in Alberta, Canada, teeming with natural hot springs, plentiful skiing slopes, and magnificent views. The upscale resorts in this idyllic setting make it a choice destination for vacationers, conferences and weddings, drawing some 5 million tourists each year, including tens of thousands of Jewish people. But until now, kosher food was next to impossible to obtain in the relatively remote town nestled in the Canadian Rockies. 

That is about to change.

Now, the newly-launched Chabad of the Canadian Rockies is preparing to inaugurate a 30-foot, $200,000 state-of-the-art mobile, glatt-kosher commercial kitchen, opening Banff up to the world of kosher tourism.

Leaders of Chabad of the Rockies, Rabbi Dovid and Devorah Pinson have moved to Banff, putting their experience in Jewish communal activity to work toward enriching life for the local Jewish community with holiday celebrations, Shabbat dinners, and family events. As part of their work, they’ll manage the mobile kosher kitchen.

The Pinson family poses in front of the sukkah-mobile in Banff, Alberta

The project reflects the vision of two grieving parents and the dedication of a man who got a new lease on life thanks to a kidney donation. When Yehuda (Eugene) and Ilana Weig’s 20-year-old son Daniel passed away in tragic circumstances, they wanted to remember him and celebrate his life with a project that would enhance the life of a Jewish community. The Toronto residents chose to donate the seed money to begin the construction of the mobile kitchen.

Taking it to the next step was Howard Moster. The former Cincinnati police detective fell seriously ill a number of years ago, and needed a new kidney. His close friend Rabbi Dovid Pinson launched a campaign to find Moster a donor. After many donors stepped forward and were rejected, Rabbi Mendy Blachman, a Chabad rep in Edmonton, Alberta, was a perfect match. “They couldn’t be a better match if they were brothers,” the doctor said. 

Interior of the mobile kosher kitchen

Moster’s new lease on life inspired him to act with impact. He stepped into the campaign, bringing funding from a number of sources for the project.

Now, Jewish travelers to the Canadian Rockies won’t have to look far for kosher provisions, and Pinson says a destination Bar Mitzvah is already booked for this July. 

Rabbi Menachem Matusof, Senior Rabbi & Executive Director of Chabad Lubavitch of Alberta, says that establishing a Chabad center serving the Canadian Rockies Jewish community has been a goal for many years. “The Pinson family is the perfect match for this posting,” Matusof said. “This Chabad center is already a tremendous asset, adding to Jewish life for locals as well as tourists visiting from around the world.”

Purim party with Rabbi Pinson
A public menorah in Alberta
Members of the Banff Community pose with Chabad-Lubavitch reps in Alberta
Commercial ovens and fryers in the mobile kosher kitchen
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