When you live with an avid baker (that’s Rabbi Max), there’s nothing better than a Friday afternoon with challah in the oven, the smell of the rosemary sea salt seasoning in the air, and the knowledge that Shabbat is almost here.
Whether you’re the one who prepares the dough, the one who braids the dough, or the one who eats it (or maybe you do all three!), you’re taking ingredients from the earth and using your hands to craft something beautiful to share with those you love.
As the smell fills your home, loved ones know that Shabbat is on the way. Whether you’re baking the challah for your family, for the family next door who just welcomed a child into their lives, for the neighbor who is sick, for the fellow congregant who just needs a pick-me-up, or for that “just because” moment, this is a spiritual expression of your Jewish identity.
Gender need not dictate the baker. All of us have access to this spiritual practice. I make this call every year: If you’ve never tried your hand at challah, why wait another week? Except, maybe wait for just one more, and join me and Rabbi Max next Sunday for our annual Family Challah Bake, open to our whole Temple Emanu-El community (there are a few spots left, registration here).
Through time spent surrounded by your community in the hustle and bustle of the spiritual mess and joy of challah-making, your spirits will lift and you’ll be smiling from ear to ear. That’s the power of a simple dough, crafted from ingredients of our earth, baked with intention and care, and cooked to perfection for the family to enjoy.
Remember, after a long week, there is nothing better than the sweet taste of fresh challah baked with love.