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January 24, 2017 4:04 pm

Free Kosher Chicken Soup Service for Ailing California Students Gets Rave Reviews From Jewish Mothers

avatar by Shiryn Ghermezian

A student at Cal Poly holding a container of chicken soup given by Chabad of SLO & Cal Poly-Rohr Center for Jewish Life. Photo: Facebook.

A student at Cal Poly holding a container of chicken soup given by Chabad of SLO & Cal Poly-Rohr Center for Jewish Life. Photo: Facebook.

A service created by a Chabad couple in California, which provides free, homemade kosher chicken soup to ill students and members of the local community, is being lauded on social media.

On a Facebook page created for parents of students at California Polytechnic State University (Cal Poly), mothers and fathers are talking about how many times their children, both Jewish and non-Jewish, have benefited from “Chicken Soup Express,” the brainchild of Rabbi Chaim Hilel and his wife, Miki, of Chabad of San Luis Obispo (SLO) & Cal Poly-Rohr Center for Jewish Life. Parents noted how impressed they were by the couple’s concern for the well-being of their children, and thanked them for their “amazing generosity,” according to

One mother commented:

Just a huge shout-out to Rabbi Chaim Hilel! My 1st year just got diagnosed with mono, and soup was there within an hour of my e-mail! My son was SO grateful, as was I, feeling helpless miles away!

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Another parent said, “my daughter loved the soup! It’s so hard to be away from your kids when they are sick so it was good for this momma’s heart to be able to do something for her.”

The Chabad couple — whose soup is described on their website as “very therapeutic, just like Bubby’s!” — have been getting referrals, making their service so popular that when they are out of town, they arrange for a student to handle the deliveries.

According to Rabbi Hilel, there are between 800 and 1,000 Jewish students at Cal Poly. One freshman, Alex Lustig, said of the soup, “I was surprised and really thankful. Of course, it wasn’t exactly like my mom’s, but it was good.”

Rabbi Hilel, who has served as the Chabad-Lubavitch emissary for Cal Poly and the general Jewish community of San Luis Obispo since 2009, told that he has received hundreds of positive comments on social media about the soup deliveries. He also noted that the soup has “broken down barriers,” explaining that one local business owner, who had declined to work with Chabad in the past, agreed to sponsor an event at the Jewish center after seeing a Facebook post about Chicken Soup Express. According to the rabbi, a few Jewish students also started visiting his Chabad center after being treated to the soup.

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