Vegan Sourdough Challah

Bread, a basic, humble food represents so much of what is happening during the pandemic. While some are fortunate to nourish their creativity and yearning for comfort foods by becoming amateur bakers, others line up 24 hours in advance at food banks to secure loaves of bread and other foods.  Bread highlights so many of our society’s problems, from the injustices of food access and increasing food insecurity during COVID, to the brokenness of food systems (such as the contrasting shortages of flour in supermarkets compared with food banks), to access to healthy foods (homemade breads, sometimes with heirloom grains versus processed), and the luxury of those of us with time and resources to delve into baking bread. Continue reading

Beshalach: From Fear to Action

Beshallach: challot

Beshallach: raisin challot

In this week’s parsha, Beshalach, the Israelites begin their journey from Egypt to Israel. There are moments when the Israelites question their exodus and God’s ability to protect them. Although they are liberated, their lives are filled with uncertainty and they still carry some of their slave-like mentality from Egypt.  While being chased by Pharoah, the Israelites complain to Moses,“Let us be, for it is better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the wilderness?” (14:13). Just after this moment, God splits the Sea of Reeds, allowing the Israelites to safely pass to dry land. But, their complaints continued. They later said to Moses and Aaron, “For you have brought us out into this wilderness to starve this whole congregation to death” (16:3). Rabbi Shai Held comments that in Beshalach, “the Israelites will need to discover, however slowly and painfully, that they have agency, that they can act in ways small and large to determine their own fate.

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