Sara Spigler is the favorite caterer for much of the huge Anglo community of
Ra’anana. Whether it’s for a Shabbat Hatan, brit, birthday party or just a
family get-together, she’s the one they think of.
Yet she’s never taken a
cooking lesson in her life. She made aliya at 17 and worked for years as a
“Sometimes I think I’d like to stop working at least
for a while, but people say to me, ‘What on earth will we do if you
stop?’ so I
Spigler, now 55, was born here but left with her parents as a
“But I’ve always been a passionate Zionist and came here on
a summer trip with my father when I was 16. I met a much older guy who
me back to New Jersey, and we were married there. It was straight after
school and I was 17 when we came back to Israel to live.”
SETTLING IN “I
really thought I would be an English teacher,” she says. “Anyway I was
to study at Bar-Ilan University and to support my studies I worked as a
The marriage didn’t last, but during that time she went to
study dental hygiene and she worked for the man whom she was later, in
marry, dentist Abe Sigler.
DAILY LIFE From early on in her first
marriage, Sara knew she would be unable to have children. She had had
ectopic pregnancies and she decided to adopt. Thirty years ago, she and
first husband adopted their son Yoni. Soon after they divorced and she
“Then, about 28 years ago, the doctors at Sheba Hospital in
Tel Hashomer told me they were beginning to treat infertility with IVF
fertilization]. They said they hadn’t tried it on humans yet, only rats,
would I be prepared to have a go. I said yes.”
After eight difficult
years and 10 tries, Sara gave birth to her twin boys, Amichai and
Her sister had made aliya and took over the dental work as she
could not work while pregnant.
“The brit, at a hotel in Herzliya, was a
very emotional occasion,” she recalls. “Everyone felt they were present
BECOMING A CATERER Thirteen years ago their first grandchild
was born, and Spigler decided to make a brita, a celebration of the
their local synagogue. In those days it was allowed for the family to
today it has to be under official supervision.
“I made a Shabbat meal
with the food served in porcelain dishes on linen tablecloths and
surprised as the standard until then had been all disposable dishes.
started to tell me I should sell my food, which hadn’t occurred to me
then. Then someone asked me if I could prepare the food for a small
wedding, which I did. And from there it just kind of snowballed. For a
was cooking out of my own kitchen.
“I decided to start a formal catering
business and went to the Ra’anana rabbinate to get kashrut
said it wouldn’t be a problem, but I could not cook in my own kitchen.
moved the car out of the garage and I made a wonderful kitchen in there
the specifications of the rabbinate. It worked for six or seven years,
I’m not sure how thrilled the neighbors were about it.”
LANGUAGE At home
the family spoke English and Hebrew, but she was more fluent in
“I so much wanted to become Israeli again that I would only
speak, read and write in Hebrew,” she says. “In those days Ra’anana was a
town with very few Anglos, so it was easier.”
OBSTACLES Although she
never wanted to expand into a huge catering company, she decided to move
her garage and find a kitchen she could work from outside her home. She
she had found the ideal place, moved into it and then discovered the
lied and she had no business being there. She was even taken to court by
municipality. Then she tried various other options – sharing with a big
Jerusalem catering company, sharing with a restaurant, which meant she
only start cooking at two in the afternoon, and several other
But she is philosophical about the problems, feeling that
perhaps God was showing her a way out because the various alternatives
BEST THING ABOUT ISRAEL “I adore Israel. Being in a Jewish
country when for example it’s Rosh Hashana and the supermarkets are full
apples and honey and where the pomegranates suddenly appear everywhere.
try not to pay attention to the horrible things.
Living in Ra’anana is a
little like living in a bubble, and so many olim are happy to be
ADVICE TO NEW IMMIGRANTS “Try to take things as they come. I know
it can be very hard sometimes, especially with the bureaucracy, but
that this is not the only country where you have to run from office to
get things done. It happens everywhere.”
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