Moist, cake-like challah is a big hit at my Rosh HaShanah open house. Divide the dough into two-thirds and one-third to make two loaves, but never use all the dough to make one giant crown or the center will surely be raw after the normal baking time is reached.
7–8 cups bread flour, divided use
2 packages rapid rise yeast
11/2 cups water
2 sticks pareve margarine, butter, or 1/2 cup oil and 1 stick margarine
1/4 teaspoon yellow food coloring
3/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons poppy seeds (optional)
1 tablespoon salt
4 large eggs
1 cup raisins (optional)
Egg wash: 1 egg mixed with 1 tablespoon water
1. In a large mixer bowl combine 6 cups of the flour and the yeast. Stir to combine.
2. Heat the water, margarine, food coloring, sugar, poppy seeds, and salt in a saucepan until very warm (140°F). Water should be uncomfortably hot to your finger but not hot enough to burn you. (It will feel like hot tap water.)
3. 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.
4. 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. If using the raisins, add after 5 minutes of kneading and then continue with the remaining two minutes. The mixture should be satiny smooth.
5. Preheat your oven to 400°F for 1 minute. Lightly grease a bowl with some 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.
6. Punch down the dough and divide in half or in thirds. Roll each piece into a rope about 15 inches long. Hold one end 2 inches above the work surface and wrap the rest of the dough around it to make a large coil. Pinch the ends together to prevent unraveling while baking. Place the formed breads on parchment-lined or greased cookie sheets, and let rise in the previously warmed oven until light and doubled, about 25 minutes.
7. Remove loaves from oven and reduce to 375°F. 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.
Yield: 2–3 loaves
1. As no amount of eggs will make the challah look golden, coloring is added. You can substitute 1/8 teaspoon saffron or turmeric for color.
2. The amount of flour you use will be directly related to the weather; on dry, wintry days you will need less flour than on a rainy spring day, because the cold dry air will make the dough drier and the moist air in spring will require more flour to absorb the extra moisture. The amount of flour is dictated by the feel of the dough.
3. To let the dough rise overnight, spoon 1 tablespoon of oil inside a 2-gallon ziplock bag and rub to distribute. Place the dough in the bag, squeeze out any excess air, seal, and place in the refrigerator overnight. In the morning, remove the bag from the refrigerator and let it sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before proceeding with step 6.
4. Never cut bread hot from the oven. The steam will cause the knife to drag through the loaf and mat the dough together.
SONGS OF THE SPIRIT: THE DEBBIE FRIEDMAN ANTHOLOGY
This amazing anthology collection brings together 45 songs on 2 CDs, spanning over 30 years of Debbie Friedman's trailblazing career. This compilation of re-mastered original songs in Hebrew and English contains favorites from her first fourteen albums, released between 1972 and 2003. Strong, clear vocals, wise and poignant lyrics, and matchless melodies - this collection presents Debbie Friedman at her best, over an astonishing 30 years of music making.
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The Haftarah Commentary is a comprehensive new translation of the weekly selections from the Prophets and Writings, complete with meticulously cantillated Hebrew text, commentary and translations, essays, gleanings from sources modern and ancient, notes, glossary, bibliography, and additional selections for use as alternatives to the traditional haftarot. To insure the accuracy and accessibility of the new volume, consulting editor S. David Sperling, a professor of Hebrew at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, reviewed the entire text and commentary.
Look what they're saying about The Haftarah Commentary:
"Eminently useful."--Rabbi Harold M. Schulweis, Valley Beth Shalom, Encino, CA
My Jewish World: An Early Childhood Music Curriculum (Book/CD set)
Music can be a wonderfully effective teaching tool for preschool aged children. My Jewish World guides teachers through the process of introducing and utilizing song in the classroom to teach Jewish values.
In her comprehensive and easy to follow book, Judy Caplan Ginsburgh includes twenty-six songs, religious and secular, that will help to facilitate an environment of fun and learning. Each song addresses important Jewish concepts and many use Hebrew words and prayers. Judy provides comments, activities, and creative ideas, specific for each song, which can be used in the classroom to learn about being Jewish every day. The importance of saying the Sh'ma each morning, learning the Hebrew words for colors, understanding body parts, and the value of cooperation are only some of the Jewish concepts touched on in the book.
In addition, Judy Ginsburgh includes a list of suggested books for many of the topics. These books help to reinforce and expand the lessons laid out in the curriculum.
With a helpful glossary of Hebrew and Yiddish terms and the companion music CD, My Jewish World is a wonderful guide to making music significant in the Jewish classroom.