Published December 14th, 2016
Children Learn the Twists and Turns of Making Challah
By Cathy Dausman
Orinda's Charlee Spence adds the proper twist to her Challah loaf. Photos Cathy Dausman
A standard Challah bread recipe calls for oil, salt, flour, yeast, eggs and water, but a child-specific Challah bake includes an abundance of flour dust, sticky fingers and laughter.
Twenty-seven children and 14 adults recently dove wrist deep into Chabad of Lamorinda's Kids Mega Challah Bake at Lafayette Library and Learning Center. The list of those wishing to participate had simply outgrown its original site, Rabbi Yisroel Labowski's home.
In the simplest form Challah is a loaf of bread, but its significance dates back two millennia, the Rabbi and his wife Tzipora explained. Challah is special Jewish braided bread eaten on Sabbath and during holidays. Jewish families making bread two thousand years ago were commanded to offer a small piece of their dough to the priest in the Holy Temple.
"We want to teach the children the mitzvah (good deed) of making bread," Labowski explained. "Today, there is no temple," Tzipora explained to the crowd, "but we do have the bread."
Participants donned plastic aprons, gloves and paper hats, combined wet and dry ingredients and began to stir. The wooden spatula was abandoned when the stirring got tough and sticky fingers took up the kneading. The dough was allowed to rise before each baker separated and rolled pieces. One participant observed the bread braiding process was not unlike braiding her sister's hair.
The braided loaf was taken home where it would be coated with egg whites, perhaps decorated with poppy or sesame seeds, then baked and served after reciting a blessing. Those too timid to bake can find Challah loaves at Trader Joe's and Whole Foods, Lafayette, and Oakland's Grand Bakery (through Dec. 23) or adorning someone's Hanukkah table. Hanukkah begins at sundown December 24 this year.
There will be a Mega Challah Bake at
7 p.m. Dec. 15 at the Lafayette Veterans Memorial Building.
Front, from left, Rebecca Johnson, Kayla Smith, Tamar Links, Max Freeman; rear, from left, Rachel Valentine, Charlee Spence, Julia Johnson, Beatrice Hearey, Alyssa Smith

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