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Challah baking at the Motor City Moishe House.
mong the aromas most
intimately ensconced in
Jewish tradition is the smell
of freshly baked challah, the
bread traditionally eaten on Shabbat
and holidays. Commemorating the
manna that fell from the heavens and
nourished the Twelve Tribes of Israel in
the desert following the Exodus from
Egypt, this bread likely evokes fond
memories, be it of your mother's kitchen
or of staying at a dear friend's house for
On Sunday, Jan. 20, the Motor City
Moishe House in Detroit's Midtown
held a special workshop on challah
baking. Meredith Cohen and Lea
Selitsky, Motor City Moishe House
residents, were instrumental in
getting the event going by reaching
out to members of Southfield-based
Congregation Shaarey Zedek Sisterhood,
who agreed to co-sponsor the event.
The free event highlighted Detroit's
thriving and vibrant Jewish community
and was a great opportunity for meeting
In all, 16 participants — 13 women
and three men — learned how much
JASON MICK I SPECIAL TO THE JEWISH NEWS
The group enjoys the fruits of their labor.
fun and easy it is to make this "holy"
food. Most participants heard about the
event through word-of-mouth; others
Leading the workshop was
experienced challah baker Linda Cohen,
who has been making challah for her
family ever since her daughter Meredith
journeyed to Israel and experienced
the delicious joy of challah on Shabbat.
Upon Meredith's return, she encouraged
her mother to take up the tradition.
After a brief snack of fruit and nuts,
the leader skillfully directed the eager
crowd, first on how to knead and braid
the risen dough, and then later how to
make the dough from scratch. While the
participants' first challah loaves were
baking, they enjoyed a light lunch and a
chance to make new friends.
Jamie Seiger, a University of Central
Florida grad and newcomer to Michigan,
loved the class and the chance to
connect with new people.
"I like that there is a wide variety of
ideas although [we] all have the same
goals," she says. The event showed "the
diversity of the Jewish community in that
we all are different but have the same
purpose. I'm really into [this kind of event]
and want to continue to learn more."
I'll admit I was a bit intimidated
coming to the workshop. Baking
bread was supposed to be tough stuff,
right? But like Jamie, I found the baking
process to be surprisingly easy.
Check out future events from Moishe
House and Shaarey Zedek Sisterhood on
Facebook. Most events are free to the
Jason Mick, 28, of Rochester works as
a Ph.D. program chemical engineering
researcher at Wayne State University,
specializing in computer simulations. He
is currently studying Judaism, learning
Hebrew and working toward conversion
with the help of Rabbi Elimelech Silberberg.
Kneading Spirituality on page 36
Left: Lea Solitsky,
Linda Cohen and
chat while working
on the dough.
work on making
the dough for
work on their
February 14 • 2013