Eight teams representing local Jewish organizations will compete in The Shalom Food Pantry’s seventh annual “Battle of the BBQs” competition set for Sunday, June 30. The fund-raiser barbecue begins at 4 and continues until 6 p.m. at the Albany Jewish Community Center, 340 Whitehall Rd.


According to Chanie Simon, co-director of Bethlehem Chabad and of the food pantry, “The Shalom Food Pantry’s mission is to provide healthy food packages to individuals and families who are struggling financially, to help alleviate the costs of groceries. We provide support while respecting people’s privacy and dignity.The proceeds from the competition will go to the Shalom Food Pantry to help those in need.”


Pit bosses for the teams are:
Mark Swyer will be the pit boss of “Bro Crew,” representing Beth Emeth Brotherhood. “Mark Swyer loves cooking and really enjoys BBQing,” say members of his team.


The Jewish Federation of Northeastern NY will be represented by David Hausler under the team name “YAD.” Hausler, a self-professed seasoned foodie, will captain the team representing the Young Adult Division of the Federation.”
Arnie Rotenberg will man the grill for the “Burnt Offerings” representing Congregation Gates of Heaven, Rotenberg  considers himself “a BBQ master and seasoned Trekkie” and has over 40 years of experience in congregation and day school education.


This year, Bethlehem Chabad will have two pit bosses. Twins Ben and Sam Sosnovsky will work together to lead the team, Holy Smokes! The two saqy that they consider Bethlehem Chabad their second home. It has been reported that now that they are away for college, anytime they have off, they come back to visit and volunteer!


Congregation Shomray Torah’s pit boss, Myles Melnicoff, will command the ShteebleChase pit from afar. The competition will be during his long-planned family road trip to Niagara Falls.
Ruth Kassel will be the pit boss of the Hebrew Academy of the Capital District’s team, “HaKadosh BBQ.” Kassel  is not only a Hebrew Academy parent, but also an avid meat smoker. She says, “I have never turned down a food-making-related challenge, and I am looking forward to competing in my second year at Battle of the BBQs.”


This year, old-timer Jeffrey Goldmeer will be man the grill for Congregation Ohav Shalom’s team, Sacred Sizzle. He has participated in the Battle of the BBQs in the past on both the Ohav and HACD teams, as well as participated with his family virtually during COVID.
Congregation Beth Abraham-Jacob is joining the competition. Sam Sonenberg was born in New York and says, “I am excited to offer the finest BBQ in the world at the fabulous “Abe and Jake’s House of BBQ!”
Attendees will get to sample each of the teams’ chicken wings, steaks, and portabello mushrooms. There will also be all-you-can-eat sides, including vegetarian options.
Activities for children include pony rides and face painting.
Tickets purchased prior to Tuesday, June 25. are  $25 for adults and $10 per child over 5 years old.