Welcome to Temple Life (Chaim)! We are excited that you are visiting our blog. Here our clergy, staff, faculty and of course, congregants will share their thoughts, ideas, photos, videos and more about Congregation Ahavath Chesed. Enjoy an insider’s view as together we worship, learn, take social action and of course, participate in the community inside and outside our walls. Enjoy!
This rich challah dough is not formed into braids for the High Holy Days, rather it is shaped in the form of a turban or snail. This is symbolic of the hope that the year will be filled with continuous good health and well being. If the challah is made into one very large challah there is the risk that the center will be under baked or the outer ring will be dry and over baked depending on the baking time you choose. I never use more than 2/3 of the dough to make a large challah.
7- 7 1/2 cups bread flour, King Arthur or Gold medal Better for Bread
2 packages rapid rise yeast
1 1/2 cups water
2 sticks parve margarine or butter
1/4 teaspoon yellow food coloring
3/4 cup sugar
2 Tablespoons poppy seeds
1 Tablespoon salt
4 large eggs
1 cup raisins, optional
EGG WASH-1 egg mixed with 1 Tablespoon water and 1 teaspoon of honey
In a large mixer bowl combine 6 1/2 cups of the flour and the yeast. Stir to combine.
Heat the water, margarine, food coloring, sugar, poppy seed and the salt in a saucepan until very warm (140F). Water should be uncomfortably hot to your finger but not hot enough to burn you.(It will feel like hot tap water).
Add the warm liquid mixture to the flour while the mixer is on low. As the liquid is being incorporated, add the eggs. Mix thoroughly.
Gradually add the remaining flour only until a fairly firm dough is formed. This process should take about 7 minutes whether you are using the dough hook on your mixer or are kneading it by hand. The mixture will be satiny smooth and will not stick to a lightly floured finger tip when touched. If adding raisins, add after 5 minutes of kneading
Turn your oven on for 1 minute. TURN YOUR OVEN OFF. Lightly grease a bowl with oil and turn the dough in the bowl to oil all sides. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the TURNED OFF oven until doubled in size, about 30-45 minutes.
Punch down the dough and divide in half or thirds. Divide each portion into 1 large rope and coil the dough around itself to make a round of dough that looks like a turban. Make sure to pinch the end of the dough under to prevent uncoiling during baking. Place formed breads on a greased cookie sheet or parchment paper and allow to rise until light and doubled, about 25 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 375F. Brush the tops of the loaves with the egg wash and bake for 25-35 minutes depending on the size of the loaves. When the bread is done, it will be golden brown and have a hollow sound when tapped.
Simchat Torah, Hebrew for “rejoicing in the Law”, celebrates the completion of the annual reading of the Torah. Simchat Torah is a joyous festival, in which we affirm our view of the Torah as a tree of life and demonstrate a living example of never-ending, lifelong study. Torah scrolls are taken from the ark and carried or danced around the synagogue seven times. During the Torah service, the concluding section of Deuteronomy is read, and immediately following, the opening section of Genesis, or B’reishit as it is called in Hebrew, is read.
Pesach, known as Passover in English, is a major Jewish spring festival, commemorating the Exodus from Egypt over 3,000 years ago. The ritual observance of this holiday centers around a special home service called the seder (meaning “order”) and a festive meal; the prohibition of chametz (leaven); and the eating of matzah (an unleavened bread). On the eve of the fifteenth day of Nisan in the Hebrew calendar, we read from a book called the hagaddah, meaning “telling,” which contains the order of prayers, rituals, readings and songs for the Pesach seder. The Pesach seder is the only ritual meal in the Jewish calendar year for which such an order is prescribed, hence its name.
Preparing for the Yamim Noraim
As fall approaches, Jews throughout the world prepare for a unique ten-day period of prayer, self-examination, fasting, and repentance. It is time for the Yamim Noraim, the Days of Awe, the High Holy Days: Rosh HaShanah andYom Kippur. These holidays are preceded by a month of reflection: the Hebrew month of Elul. During this time, morning worship includes special penitential prayers and concludes with the blowing of the shofar as a reminder of the approaching season of atonement. In some communities, this is also a time to visit the graves of loved ones.
Sukkot, a Hebrew word meaning “booths” or “huts,” refers to the Jewish festival of giving thanks for the fall harvest, as well as the commemoration of the forty years of Jewish wandering in the desert after Sinai. Sukkot is celebrated five days after Yom Kippur on the 15th of Tishrei and is marked by several distinct traditions. One tradition, which takes the commandment to “dwell in booths” literally, is to build a sukkah, a booth or hut. A sukkah is often erected by Jews during this festival, and it is common practice for some to eat and even live in these temporary dwellings during Sukkot. Read more about the history and customs of Sukkot.