May 27, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

The Luscious Smell of Baking Challah—We Knead You

No matter how traditional one is in their observance of Judaism there are certain symbols that no matter where we travel in the world we chuckle and will notice. The display of a challah in a bakery or restaurant, no matter if we are walking the streets in the Pletzel in Paris or on the sidewalks of Golders Green in London or the Once and Abasto area of Buenos Aires, surely brings a smile to the face of any Jewish tourist. Ah, a touch of home. Universally, challah has been a link for all of us to the past and to the future.

The ease these days with which we are able to buy and choose challahs of so many different varieties has discouraged many from baking their own challah. Flavors such as chocolate chip challah, water challah, cinnamon and sugar challah, egg challah and gluten-free challah are just some of the vast choices that are available to us today.

On the other hand, there are many young and older women today who fulfill the mitzvah of baking their own challah each week and derive much pleasure from the experience. Mothers and daughters stand together in their kitchens kneading dough, separating and braiding the dough and watching it rise and then saying a special bracha as they separate a piece of dough from the unbaked challah which is then placed in the oven and burned. The use of a bread machine does not detract from the sanctity of the act.

One small act that has the power to unite Jewish women in the entire Northern New Jersey area will be taking place on Thursday evening, October 22, as a gathering of solidarity takes place at the Rockleigh Country Club. Through collaboration from Jewish Journeys of Northern New Jersey, WIZO will be hosting this event. The “Great Big Challah Bake,” an event co-sponsored by many Jewish organizations, has the hope of attracting over 1,000 women. Attendees will be representing The Jewish Federation of Northern NJ Women’s Philanthropic Division, Sharsheret, Hadassah, Kaplen JCC on the Palisades, Lubavitch on the Palisades, National Council of Jewish Women Bergen County Section and many synagogues across Bergen County.

Many of those living in the Teaneck, Bergenfield, Englewood, New Milford and Fair Lawn communities have had the opportunity to watch family members years ago taking part in this great mitzvah. Now is the opportunity for those of us who have partaken in this mitzvah to share it with our sisters throughout the Northern New Jersey area. Solidarity means that everyone, no matter what walk of life, no matter where one grew up, no matter how busy we are, takes the time to gather together with our Jewish sisters and make this project a huge success.

To register for this event contact www.wizousa.org/GreatBigChallahBake.

Costs: $18 Early Bird; $25 at the door; $60 Family of Four; $72 Sponsorship;

$360 Benefactor. All participants receive an apron, a bowl and two challahs!

By Nina Glick

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