Making Challah is Divine; an Israel Bat Mitzvah Tour

June 30th 2011

Challah Baking Masada


That warm, heavenly bread that is the necessary bridge from our hectic work week to that slow, comfortable place within us that is Shabbat.

Challah, to us Jews, is Jewish bread, an ancient, ancestral commodity that cannot be forgotten.

You may wonder, what exactly is the connection, with this delicious carbodhydrated- rich sustenance to ancient Jewish religion?
Back in the day, when the High Priests were giving sacrifices in the Second Temple, they were commanded to separate bread, called in Hebrew “l’friesh Challah”. That portion that was separate and set aside for holiness was called “Challah”. Today, there is no Temple to offer sacrificies to, but Jewish woman still set aside a portion of their Challah dough in remembrance of the ancient ritual.

The Rabbi of the Dead Sea, Rabbi Shimon Elharar, with his musical assistant Rabbi Tzachi, and a professional baker in ancient
costume, will accompany you on this baking journey. No worries; if you’ve never so much as made cookies from a box before, you’ll be able to catch on quickly to the braiding techniques and advice given by the baker.

And it’s all about location. Here, to celebrate your daughter’s bat mitzvah ( or your own bat mitzvah), you will be located in the
same synagogue Jews from the Masada times worshipped, on the enormous cliff top of the fortress that overlooks the foreboding ruins of the Roman camp down below.

The fortress was the same place in which 900 Jews, struggling for Jewish self determination from the Romans, living in a fortress originally created by King Herod, faced a difficult decision; be Roman slaves or take their own Jewish lives in defiance?

Today, as you celebrate your daughter’s Bat Mitzvah, you will no longer have to face any terrible decisions such as suicide or slavery, but can celebrate Jewish self-determination with pride ( and delicious bread) in the very same spot. Transforming the spot to one of independence and freedom.

And so, when you stand at the foot of Masada and look up, preparing for the big event, heart racing with anticipation, mind questioning again ( wait, can I handle being that high in the air?), know that the journey is a tribal one. A journey that you can embark with your daughter, your sister, or your mother, a voyage of strength together, knowing that at the top of the
mountain, you will do the special commandment given to the female race alone; that of preparing and separating challah.

A moment that will never be forgotten, on your child’s Bat Mitzvah Israel tour with challah on the top of Masada.