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98-year-old has been making Deli Day cheesecakes for longer than she can remember

This 98-year-old has been making cheesecakes for Deli Day with the same recipe for decades

Rayna Goodman, 98, has been making cheesecakes for Deli Day since before she can remember. Deli Day is hosted by the Jewish Ladies Aid Society of Temple Israel in Columbus, Ga. Most of the proceeds go to Wynnton Neighborhood Network and Hope Harbor.
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Rayna Goodman, 98, has been making cheesecakes for Deli Day since before she can remember. Deli Day is hosted by the Jewish Ladies Aid Society of Temple Israel in Columbus, Ga. Most of the proceeds go to Wynnton Neighborhood Network and Hope Harbor.

Rayna Goodman, 98, has been making cheesecakes for Temple Israel’s Deli Day longer than she can remember, and this year is no different.

For this year’s Deli Day, Goodman promised Temple Israel 20 cheesecakes to sell at the event. She makes them at home, crusts and all, two at a time, and they are refrigerated then frozen until the big day comes.

Gloria Cohen, 78, Deli Day’s chair and longtime friend of Goodman, said cheesecakes are the biggest hit at Deli Day.

Goodman’s husband was Alfred Goodman, Rabbi of Temple Israel from 1950 to 1983.

She wraps the cakes in tinfoil and labels them with masking tape and a marker to remind her which number cake she is on. She also keeps a tally on her fridge.

“It’s just such a nice feeling to put the tally up on the refrigerator as I make more and more of them. It’s just a feeling of accomplishment,” Goodman said, smiling.

While she has always used the same recipe, she said she has learned shortcuts throughout the years like puncturing the eggs before folding them into the rest of the mix and cooking the cheesecake at a low temperature.

Cohen has been Deli Day chair for 19 out of the 38 years they’ve had the event. She explained that Deli Day is a fundraiser put on by the temple’s Jewish Ladies Aid Society, and most of the proceeds go to Wynnton Neighborhood Network and Hope Harbor.

She said it not only brings their congregation and families together, it also brings the community together. People from other denominations volunteer to help and people will see each other every year at Deli Day and catch up in the line.

“It’s a very good feeling to be . . . a temple that’s Jewish to be able to open their doors and our home to the community,” Cohen said.

In addition to the homemade desserts, bagged, kosher-style lunches will be available at Deli Day. People can take their Deli Day goods to-go, eat inside the temple or make a picnic on the temple’s lawn.

Goodman’s and others’ cakes and desserts can be bought whole or by the slice.

“Whatever you enjoy, you’ll find it on our dessert table,” Goodman said.

Temple Israel’s Deli Day is on Thursday, April 11, 2019, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tickets are $12 for lunch, which includes sweetened or unsweetened tea, and desserts can be purchased for $5. Cohen and Goodman emphasized that the dessert portions are hefty.

Tickets can be purchased in advance from a temple member or at the temple’s office, or on Deli Day.

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