From the Desk - Challah
Shalom Friends! Things have been very busy here at Beth Ora since the holidays and we are busy planning some great initiatives for the community! Sukkah Competition One of the great things we did over the holiday period was the Beth Ora Sukkah competition. It was wonderful to see the beautiful Sukkot built and decorated by members of our community. After some serious consideration, the Sukkah Judicial Committee have decided to award the following families: First Prize: Judy and Paul Starr (with many decorations from Rebecca!)
Second Prize: Evelyna and David Zrihan Third Prize: Debbie and Michael Smith
Community Care Information Evening This evening, we are hosting an information session for all those who are interested in volunteering to help other members of the community. If you have already been volunteering, we would love you to come and join the discussion. If you are interested in finding out about opportunities to get involved and help others, this session is for you. The meeting will be held at 7:30 PM in the Hurwitz Lounge. The Shabbat Project Last year's Shabbat Project at Beth Ora was a spectacular success! On October 26th-27th, please consider joining Jews throughout the world of all levels of religious observance in keeping this Shabbat. If anyone would like any guidance about how to keep Shabbat, please contact me. Whatever your regular level of observance, this is a wonderful opportunity to experience the serenity and beauty of Shabbat. At Beth Ora on that Shabbat, we are preparing special services with lots of communal participation, singing and stimulating ideas from our members. We look forward to many more wonderful events at Congregation Beth Ora. Shabbat Shalom, Rabbi Anthony and Carly Knopf Dovid, Rachelli, Yehuda and Avrami
What's the Deal with... Challah? At the end of Simchat Torah, we held a questions and answers session between Mincha and Maariv. At that session, Shulim Baum asked the question: Where does challah come from? Where did the tradition develop to bake bread for Shabbat, plaited into what is known as challah? So, what's the deal? The term challah originally refers to the mitzvah of separating a portion of the dough before braiding. In temple times, this portion of dough was set aside as a tithe for the Kohen. Nowadays, there is still a mitzvah to remove some dough when baking a certain quantity. The dough is removed and burnt as a reminder of Temple practices. On Shabbat, we have two challot at each of our three meals (according to some, this is not strictly speaking necessary at the third Shabbat meal) and for two meals on each day of Yom Tov (once in the day and once in the evening). This commemorates the manna that fell from the heavens when the Israelites wandered in the desert after the Exodus. The manna did not fall on Shabbat or holidays; instead, a double portion would fall the day before. According to Gil Marks in his book The World of Jewish Cooking, until the 15th century most Ashkenazim used rectangular or round weekday loaves on Shabbat and festivals. At that time, something like what is now known as challah was developed, modelled on a popular teutonic bread. Others have suggested that the braiding and twisting was a pun on twisting off the little piece of first dough as a reminder of the Temple sacrifices.