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Challah-lujah! Learn The Mitzvah of Braiding Bread.

challah flyer

After the Days of Awe, it’s time to learn a few tricks of the trade when it comes to making challah. This sweet, eggy, moist delicious bread is the staff of life for Jewish people, so now is the time to learn how it’s done. In fact, the only thing more fun than eating these aromatic loaves is braiding the bread among friends. So join us this coming Sunday afternoon at the “Challah Baking & Shabbat In-A-Box,” hosted by the Jewish Women’s Society of Aish HaTorah. As we mix, knead, and braid the soft dough, we’ll also learn about the mitzvah of women making challah. After all, when it comes to making challah, there’s never too many cooks in the kitchen.

The time-honored tradition of challah preparation is considered an important blessing in the Jewish home, and each of the five ingredients has a spiritual meaning. For example:

Water symbolizes the Torah itself, and yeast is the prayer that the family should grow and expand. When mixed together, water and yeast creates a foam and represents the passion we should have in everything we do. Also, flour is food or sustenance; oil anoints each family member; salt reminds us to be less critical; and sugar makes life sweet.

The act of removing a fist full of dough from the batch also has religious meaning.

“The mitzvah of baking challah and separating a piece to be sanctified is a special mitzvah that women have taken upon themselves to perform,” explains Mimi David, educational director at Aish St. Louis who has perfected the art of challah making over the years. “Challah is an easy way to elevate the food we eat from the mundane to the physical. Challah symbolizes the Jewish people, as the piece we separate and sanctify is made of the same components as the rest of the dough, but by making a blessing on it, it gets elevated and now has a higher purpose.”

Making challah is not only a spiritual and meditative experience, it’s also a time to get creative.


“At the workshop we will teach how to create different challah shapes, such as round, heart, five braids, flower, tree, and possibly an apple or shofar,” says Alana Minoff, who makes challah and other bakery delicacies with her mom Peggy Umansky at Just Like Mom’s Bakery. Together, they teach their children and grandchildren how to let their imaginations run wild when creating challah designs.

“At the workshop, we will have challah braiding contests and a chance to schmooze with new and old friends.”

Some of Alana’s recent challah creations:


No challah is complete without a special cover, so we’ll also decorate fabric placemats that complete the Shabbat table.

“We will have stencils, fabric markers, jewels and paint.  Anyone is welcome to bring other art supplies to sew or embroider or anything else to make beautiful challah covers,” she adds.

Sunday’s event is a two-part program and takes place on Oct. 5, 3-5 p.m., at the Aish Firehouse, 457 N. Woods Mill Rd., in Chesterfield.  The next “Shabbat-In-A-Box” workshop is scheduled in January and will focus on candlesticks and Kiddush cups.

To RSVP, call Peggy Umansky, 314-406-4357, or contact JWSociety@hotmail.com. The cost is $5.

Learn more about the meaning of challah making here.

jewish star challah