By SARAH SHMERLING | Editor-in-Chief

About 50 people, ranging from vegans to vegetarians and those simply seeking to reduce their meat intake, attended a vegan Sukkot holiday dinner at the Marquez Knolls home of Alicia Albek, founder of Vamos Vegan.

“It was just great to have everybody here,” Albek shared with the Palisadian-Post, adding that the dinner was attended by people of all denominations from as far away as Agoura Hills.

“That’s the whole idea—we cater to everybody,” she said. “We want to teach the community about the benefits of being vegan and why it’s so important,” which Albek shared is her purpose in life.

Albek, who has been a vegetarian for more than 36 years, founded a vegan support and educational group nearly five years ago—around the time she switched to veganism.

Albek explained that as a child, she was overweight and borderline diabetic by the time she turned 13 years old. At the age of 21, she went vegetarian and within a year, she had no lingering issues with sugar.

Those who attended the potluck dinner, whose ages ranged from about 4 years old to 85, dined on homemade vegan eggplant Parmesan and stuffed cabbage, made with Beyond Meat. There were also several quinoa dishes, fresh fruit and desserts from local markets.

Albek created mini cups out of gem lettuce and stuffed them with vegan cream cheese and a pea-based salmon purchased at Erewhon—which she said she is very happy to have in town.

Though Albek hosts a Sukkot meal annually, this is the first year that Vamos Vegan teamed up with the Los Angeles chapter of Jewish Veg. The evening featured guest speaker Rabbi Jonathan Klein, director of Faith Action for Animals

“It was great to fill the sukkah,” Albek shared. She explained that the weeklong Sukkot festival, which took place this year from Sunday, October 13, through October 20, commemorates the harvest and serves as a reminder of how fragile life is.

“It is a harvest festival celebrating the food of the earth, not the sacrifice of the animals,” she added.

Through Vamos Vegan, Albek also gives tours at local grocery stores to people of all ages looking to find vegan options.

She also hosts a themed potluck party roughly every two months. Past themes have included Valentine’s Day and things to serve at a Fourth of July barbecue.

Albek is beginning to plan her holiday offerings—for those interested in joining or learning more information, she may be reached at vamosvegan@gmail.com.