Challah-baking class blends knowledge and tradition.
Special to the Jewish News
ough had been rising in Chanchi Goldstein's
kitchen for three hours, representing a tasty
tradition that has risen through generations.
In her Ann Arbor home, she split the
moist lump into round portions that served as teaching
tools for visitors who come weekly to absorb the her-
itage of making challah and what it represents.
"I enjoy sharing what I've learned," Goldstein said.
Her own lessons began alongside her mother in
Brooklyn, where she created her first loaf at age 12.
Goldstein leads a weekly baking class as one of the
Jewish culture programs offered by Chabad House, a
gathering spot for University of Michigan students.
Members of the Ann Arbor Jewish community also
attend the class.
The sticky dough sometimes is braided and basted at
that Hill Street center, though last week's group of six
students got flour and oil on their hands at the Packard
Street home of Rabbi Alter and Chanchi Goldstein.
The couple see the informal lessons, which begin
with a blessing, as a way to flavor Jewish culture with
meaning by adding sprinkles of knowledge and pride.
"There's a reason why we are excited about who we
are," said the 28-year-old rabbi, who was born in Ann
Arbor and is affiliated with the Chabad-Lubavitch
movement. "It's important to understand that different
foods symbolize something. Nothing is just random in
The challah will be served at Chabad House's
Sabbath dinner, and some will be cut up and given
away on campus to introduce students to a slice of
Michael Cohn, a U-M sophomore from Cleveland,
came to the baking session partly to expand his kitchen
"I make a good veal dish, but that's it," said Cohn,
who also hoped to gain more than a new recipe. "When
you learn these subtle cultural things, that's where you
really learn about the personality of the Jewish culture."
Among the pointers from the rabbi's wife at the latest
class was an explanation that challah dough traditionally
is divided into more than one portion because loaves
were given to religious leaders — an early form of
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WEEKLY RITUAL on page 56