WEST ORANGE, NJ - The Essex County section of the National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW) sponsored a fundraising event at the Crestmont Country Club in West Orange, Tuesday evening. Special guest and judge was Buddy Valastro "The Cake Boss."  Valastro is a popular New Jersey pastry chef featured on TLC on cable television. The event featured a "Bake with the Cake Boss" contest, a baking contest in which contestants had their baked creations tasted and judged by Valastro and a panel of judges. The judges were Buddy Valastro, Lisa Gonzalez (Valasto's sister), Neil Greenstein, Donald Legow and Pamela Lipkin.

The National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW) is a organization of volunteers and advocates who turn progressive ideals into action. Inspired by Jewish values, NCJW strives for social justice by improving the quality of life for women, children, and families and by safeguarding individual rights and freedoms. The Livingston-based Essex County NCJW is the largest of the 100 sections in the United States. NCJW organizes and staffs a Back 2 School Store, where local children in need can get school clothes and supplies.  The Linda and Rudy Slucker NCJW Center for Women offers free and low-cost support and counseling services, including back-to-work assistance.

Funds raised from the “Bake with the Cake Boss” event will help support the activities of The National Council of Jewish Women organization. The evening featured a lavish meal prepared by the Crestmont Country Club cooking staff, and a question and answer period with Buddy Valastro followed by a tasting of some of the desserts prepared by the contestants. Valastro also signed copies of his latest book and posed for photographs with fans.

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None of the contestants in the bake contest were professional bakers but all shared a love for baking and had a desire to help raise money for charity. The contestants were Patti Aranowitz, Penina Barr, Christine Corso, Lizzie Frieder, Johanna Ginsberg, Natalie Peck, Francesca Pucher, Marisa Sherry, Nanette Sudler, PH.D. and Rita Yohalem. All were from local towns surrounding West Orange.

Patti Aranowitz won first place for her carrot cake. Aranowitz is from Roseland, N.J. and heard about the contest from a friend and decided to enter. Before she was crowned the winner, Aranowitz told The Alternative Press, "I felt that entering this contest would be a lot of fun...I would like to win, yes, but even if I don't, I had fun." Lizzie Frieder of Princeton, New Jersey, won second place for her chocolate layer cake.