Our Big Kitchen (OBK) was founded by Rabbi Doctor Dovid Slavin and Laya Slavin in February 2005.
It started with one family in need.
The idea to start OBK was based on an experience that the Slavins had with a woman in the community who was extremely unwell. This lady was working at the Yeshiva with the Slavins and the burden of providing her and her family with meals fell onto the families in the community.
The Slavins decided to do some communal cooking for her. To do this, they borrowed a kosher kitchen and got together a group of volunteers to cook, do the food shopping, pack food, deliver the food etc.
They felt that once they were going to help, they would like to do it on a big scale. During these cook–ins, they noticed that the electricity that was created in that borrowed kitchen amongst the people there was incredible. Then and there they realized that this was something that they wanted to duplicate to help others in the community in need. They also wanted to bring together other people to share in this experience.
They found a location & made it happen
Rabbi Slavin had a vision – to transform the basement o the Yeshiva Centre in Bondi into a large-scale industrial kitchen that would be used to benefit anyone in the community.
He shared his passion with others and brought together a team of businesses, tradesmen and volunteers to make it happen.
Minimal money was spent to the actual building process. The builders, excavators, painters, electricians all donated their time and resources for this project.
The concrete floor was poured on 11th September 2001, an amazing milestone. Whilst the world was being attacked – OBK was starting to create a life!
The builders had to dig down very deep into solid rock underneath the earth. It was a major building task.
At this time, no government funding was giving to the actual building project. Rabbi Slavin single-handedly managed to get all the building work for FREE!
It was not only Jewish workers working on site but members from the Greek and Italian communities were most supportive to this project. The workmen really appreciated that the Rabbi was part of the building too and would literally wear a hard hat and pour the cement when an extra hand was needed.
As Laya Slavin puts it, “It became everyone’s project. Hashem’s hand at OBK was evident from day one – He has held our hand all along the way.”