Playing with Food: The Molly Lyons Bar-David Collection

June 6, 2023
by Ruby Johnstone

In the early days of “specialty” cookbooks, Molly Lyons Bar-David popularized modern Jewish cuisine with her book Jewish Cooking for Pleasure. Originally published in 1965, the cookbook was a hit with the American market due in part to Bar-David’s popularity among members of Hadassah, The Women’s Zionist Organization of America. Her long-running column “Diary of an Israeli Housewife” was a staple of Hadassah Magazine for over twenty years, connecting readers to a broader understanding of their Jewish heritage through, among other topics, the Israeli culinary scene. Bar-David’s publications and lectures inspired countless Jewish Americans to create their own traditions by incorporating her recipes into family mealtimes. She celebrated Jewish cuisine for its unique flavors, history, and ability to both educate and unite people through a shared love of food.

Included in the Molly Lyons Bar-David Collection (P-1057) is a folder of photographs depicting Molly’s signature “produce figures” created for the annual Savyon “Wi330” Hadassah fundraiser fair, circa 1960s.