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Kosher soup kitchen expands to Brooklyn and Queens
Masbia Soup Kitchen, the only kosher soup kitchen in New York, plans to open new branches in Flatbush, Williamsburg and, later, Queens.

“Williamsburgh is the mecca of Jewish poverty,” said Alexander Rapaport, director of Masbia. “We opened up one in Borough Park; the donors wanted to help us replicate [Masbia] in different neighborhoods where there is a need for kosher emergency food. This is more donor-driven than anything. People came forward — Met Council, the Federation, private philanthropists.”

The first new soup kitchen will be located at 65 Lee Avenue in Williamsburgh. A grand opening was scheduled for Thursday at 3:00 p.m. The Flatbush location is set to open on Coney Island Avenue over the Thanksgiving weekend. The fourth Masbia will be located on Queens Boulevard in the Rego Park section of Queens that is home to many Bukharian Jews.
The original Masbia location, which opened in 2005 in Borough Park, achieved recognition for its restaurant-like appearance and ambiance. According to Rapaport, the kitchen serves an average of 150-200 free meals per day.

The new soup kitchens are a joint effort of the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty. William Rapfogel, executive director and CEO of Met Council, called the partnership with Masbia a natural move.

“We strongly admire Alex for what he's doing… They [Masbia] provide good quality food and they're able to do it at a reasonable price. We haven't found anyone who can do what they do at the same level of kashruth.”

The locations were chosen based on need, Rapfogel said. The project has been in the works for six months. Down the road, he said he hopes to outfit the soup kitchens with additional services such as job training and job placement.

“First and foremost, we want to get them running and serving people who need food,” he said.

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