OPINION: Challah time!
search

The latest Jewish News

Read this week’s digital edition

Click Here

OPINION: Challah time!

Angie at the Challah bake with her friend Linda

by Angie Jacobs

It was at a tricky time. Problematic. I mean, who runs a Jewish do from 7-9pm and doesn’t supply food? But this was a bit different, I guess. A challah making session for 5000 people.

I suggested it to my friend and colleague Linda: “Yeah, it sounds okay, but when are we going to eat?” “We’ll think of something, “ I replied, “I’ll order the tickets.” We thought of something – home made sandwiches in Starbucks in Brent Cross before the gig. (It was one of those months where the Friday we get paid was right at the end.) She got herself a drink and I found the table behind the counter where the staff couldn’t see us. We munched on our contraband and laughed at the woman at the table next to us who was fast asleep.

Then we got nervous that her head might actually fall off as it kept tilting so far back. Sandwiches scoffed, we left Kip Van Winkle in search of the toilets for an ‘investment wee’ before finding the marquee where the event was to taking place. 

The police, a security company and the CST were out in full force protecting the yentas of North West London. I spotted my husband wearing a ‘high-vis’ vest and one of those ear piece things that choreographers have and got a quick kiss as he ushered me & Linda along. (At this point I should add that he is actually a member of CST and was out on a job).

There were massive queues to get into the marquee and we were told that there were plenty of places in the women only section. Not our thing, but never mind. We found 2 spaces in the middle of a row and nobody came to stand near us, Funny that. It was noisy and chaotic – but in a nice way. There were massive screens with video clips of lots of different people singing “Ay, ay, ay, Shab-bat U-Kay”.

Eventually participants had no option but to take their places at workstations next to us and the organisers tried to get the show on the road. In front of us was a bowl containing all the ingredients to make two gesunde challot plus other Shabbat UK paraphernalia including a natty apron. The £10 ticket was becoming quite a ‘metziah’. Unfortunately the same could not be said of the raffle prizes. The third prize was an hour’s learning with The Chief Rabbi. Nice bloke and all that, but most women would probably prefer the fifth prize of a £500 jewellery voucher. 

The breadmaking commenced and so did the brachot. I put in my ingredients too soon and premature activation ensued. I kneaded like a good ‘un, but my real problems were with the plaiting. I have never mastered that sort of thing – when my husband used to go to work early, my daughter would have to do her own hair for nursery.

More brachot, then all manner of breaking bits off for burning and tzedaka. We escaped with our bread before the crowds and Linda found a supermarket trolley to transport them to the car as they were a tad heavy. My husband arrived home an hour later than me. “Was there some aggro?” I asked worriedly. “Only from the Jewish women” he replied. He and my son were non-committal when they saw my efforts, but a bit of egg on top and half an hour in the oven and they vaguely resembled something we eat on Friday night. But the taste …. challahtastic.

Support your Jewish community. Support your Jewish News

Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.

Unlike other Jewish media, we do not charge for content. That won’t change. Because we are free, we rely on advertising to cover our costs. This vital lifeline, which has dropped in recent years, has fallen further due to coronavirus.

For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.

Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.

You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.

100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...

Engaging

Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.

Celebrating

There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.

Pioneering

In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.

Campaigning

Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish Newsalso produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.

Easy access

In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.

Voice of our community to wider society

The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.

We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.

read more:
comments