Giving Tuesday: Braiding Challahs

CIMG3118 For Giving Tuesday I joined 379 other volunteers to help braid 700 challahs that would be donated to needy families.

I’ve never baked a challah, or any bread for that matter and the only braiding I’ve done is with yarn or hair. And I was never very good with hair, preferring barrettes and headbands for my daughter when she was small.

A local bakery donated the prepared dough.  Various groups from synagogues, schools and community organizations volunteered for one of nine 45-minute shifts throughout the day. We had to remove all jewelry, don hairnets, plastic aprons and gloves before entering the challah room, created at the Community Food Bank for this purpose. Seven football fields long, the food bank services much of the state and looked like a combination of an Amazon/Costco/IKEA warehouse. We were warned to look out for moving forklifts and other vehicles as we walked through the cold halls to the challah room, which in contrast was moist and warm. About 30 of us, including a group of high school students, each braided about five or six challahs in the given time.

It felt good to do a bit to alleviate hunger in New Jersey.

Balls of Dough

Balls of Dough

Braided, ready for the oven

Braided, ready for the oven

In my hairnet, with Chana Solomon

In my hairnet, with Chana Solomon

Cooling Challahs, waiting to be bagged.

Cooling Challahs, waiting to be bagged.

 

 

 

 

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About cyclingrandma

I was a journalist (Danbury News-Times, Ct), before becoming a teacher, and continue to write for professional journals. I have written several study guides for Penguin Books and write for Education Update, a newspaper based in New York City. (www.educationupdate.com). I’ve interviewed many authors, college presidents, and scientists. I wrote “The Kentucky Derby’s Forgotten Jockeys” for Smithsonian Magazine's website, www.smithsonian.com. (April, 2009). Two essays have been published in book anthologies; one for Wisdom of Our Mothers, (Familia Books) and the other in “College Search and Parent Rescue: Essay for Parents by Parents of College-Going Students.” (St. Martin’s Press). I was a middle school Language Arts teacher for more than 10 years and have just completed a five year grant position under No Child Left Behind in Newark, NJ public schools. I have three children, two daughters-in law, and six grandchildren. I'm an avid cyclist, knitter, cook, and reader. I love theater, museums, and yoga.
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25 Responses to Giving Tuesday: Braiding Challahs

  1. Love this so much. Better than clicking a paypal link!

    Like

  2. And I don’t want a bread machine– I’d make it and eat way too much bread. Yes, intimidated by yeast.

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  3. What an inspiring idea!

    I love making bread — my father taught me years ago, and it always connects me to his memory when I do it.

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    • That is so sweet. I think my siblings and cousins feel that way about our grandmother’s strudel. Trouble is, no one can replicate her recipe– which she had in her head and didn’t measure anything!

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  4. madtaylor says:

    Oh My God – this is so cool! You didn’t tell me you were doing this! How awesome!!

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  5. This is wonderful. Well done to you on the braiding. I’m sure those Challahs were very well received. 🙂

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  6. Colline says:

    An interesting way to give to your community. And you learn a new skill too 🙂

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  7. I love this! The dough in the pictures looks scrumptious! So now you’re freezing it for Shabbat? Yummy….We had a similar Challah Bake in our community after Sukkot. I rarely bake challah (I mostly buy!) so it was a great opportunity..

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  8. I’m proud of you! Maybe we’ll have one Adeena’s chalah at your Chanakuh get together.

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  9. Or maybe Stop and Shop.

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  10. ekrieg says:

    What a brilliant idea! Such a great way to do a mitzvah!

    Like

  11. What an incredible project, Lisa! I meant to do some things on Giving Tuesday (which I’d never heard of until today!), but it got away from me. Arrgh! This is a really wonderful way to help others and donate your time. Way to go Lisa! xo

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  12. jmgoyder says:

    How wonderful – what a great idea!

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  13. Love the idea of a challah room! What a wonderful idea. Yum too. One of my favorite kinds of bread.

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  14. This gave you a good feeling. We can tell. (Us too.)

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  15. Dawn, It really showed me the extent of the food pantry community right nearby– one of the men who participated talked about how he helped the weekend before Thanksgiving at a soup kitchen and can carve a turkey in under 10 minutes. It was a great mitzvah to participate in.

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  16. Yum, freshly baked bread – what a special treat for those who will receive it!
    Diana xo

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