Here's how it all started...
A brief synopsis of my journey from bowl to book.
Challah, both the exuberant eating of it, and the thoughtful making of it,
has framed the way I have raised my family (and myself) over the past 18 years.
Beginning with a kitchen emergency in Kobe, Japan,
and making its way through numerous moves and accompanying kitchens,
I kneaded my way through pregnancies, childbirth, sleepless nights, career moves, illness and loss –
and my Challah baking practice became something exponentially more than the act of baking bread.
Each week, I mixed the ingredients into my large, dented, stainless steel challah bowl,
kneaded, pounded, waited and braided. I began to feel the challah dough echoing the sounds
(cacophony!) of my crazy, busy and beauty-full life.
The act of making the challah along with the mitzvah of taking off some dough with a blessing,
became meditative, meaningful, therapeutic and soul refreshing.
Each ingredient became significant, each act in the process of creating and braiding and baking the dough became infused with meaning, and I realized that the Challah baking was growing into something bigger.
It was rising.
I found myself running back and forth from my challah bowl to my laptop each week
with hands still sticky from dough (much to the detriment of the good people at the apple store)
to jot down my thoughts, experiences and aha moments! of that week’s challah baking.
In my capacity as Rebbetzin and mentor in a quickly growing local and virtual community,
I began to find that as I spoke with women about their hopes, frustrations, sorrows and triumphs –
Challah baking was always somehow there to guide me in its wisdom.
Over a decade ago, I began teaching a monthly challah class, as a way to share the magic.
As soon as the word was out, I was fielding more calls and emails than ever before,
somehow challah baking was calling out to women everywhere.
I had to close registration on each class and began waiting lists that stretched into the following year.
I was on to something.
Challah baking was awakening something in women, (besides for their taste buds – my Challah recipe is simply the best Challah anyone had ever tasted!) a deeply rooted feminine desire to nurture, and nurture creatively and positively, that we have perhaps ignored for a long time.
There is something in the Challah baking that speaks to us as women, as creators and listeners,
that was calling out to be answered.
And so began an unexpected ‘challah career’!
(If challah baking taught me anything – it’s that we never know what to expect
– and it’s always going to be wonderful – and probably fattening
My surprising and joyful journey into the making of ‘RISING!’ begins here.
Hanging tight to this rollercoaster we call Life,
I have discovered that we can not only recover, but Rise,
from any crumbs of craziness life throws at us,
as long as we have the right recipe, a good deep bowl, and a blessing on our lips.