Cholent and challah at happy hour: Tech co-working space caters to Haredi taste

In a recent article from The Times of Israel, Shoshanna Solomon wrote:

Ampersand, a gender-separated shared workspace for ultra-Orthodox entrepreneurs, is looking to double its space as new entrepreneurs enter Israel’s booming scene.

There is a buzz as the food arrives at Ampersand, a co-working space on the 21st floor of a high-rise Bnei Brak, a city on the outskirts of Tel Aviv. It is almost 1:30 p.m. on a Thursday, time for happy hour, something many co-working spaces organize to celebrate the end of the week.

At this happy hour, though, instead of wine and cheese and sandwiches, there is piping hot cholent — a stew of beans and meat that is traditionally eaten on the Jewish Sabbath — along with freshly baked challah bread, beers and cold drinks.

It’s kind of like a kiddush after synagogue services on Saturday.

The women, many of them wearing wigs or other head coverings, flock to one of the tables, while men, some with sidelocks, huddle together at others. There are two sinks in the kitchen: one to wash plates and cutlery for dairy food, and another for meat, in adherence to Jewish dietary rules. Similarly, there are three microwaves: one to warm up meat or chicken, one for milk-based products and a third for items whose kosher status is in question.

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