I Made a Freaking Challah, and Other Thoughts About My Jewishness.

A few weeks ago Delilah started “Transition” class.  That is, for the uninitiated, pre-pre-school, so to speak.  Almost immediately, I realized I had found what I didn’t know had been missing from our lives.


No really.  As you may have deduced from my frequent swapping of Moses for any other prophet, saint, or deity in common turns of phrase, along with the occasional Chanukah post, I am a member of the tribe, as they say.  And LA is a hell of a place to pick a preschool.  So for Dee, we chose a local temple preschool that wasn’t going to make our toddler interview for a spot.  (It also happens to be my alma mater, but that’s neither here nor there.)  I wasn’t totally sure what I wanted to do, so we showed up the first day on a “trial basis”, but within the hour I was filling out enrollment paperwork because after spending barely that long with the other parents in Dee’s class, I knew we were home.

I just didn’t know why.  I mean, Scott was an altar boy, so…y’know — clearly Jew is not on my list of prerequisites for wanting to keep someone around.

And then I went to Nashville.  Not exactly the Fairfax District.  But while I was there I had the rare opportunity to commune with Jewish women of all ages.  Moms, singles, and everyone in between. (!?!) And within an hour we went from a room full of near strangers to sharing common memories of sleep away camps, and teen tours, and trips to Israel, and in addition to exchanging business cards, we exchanged stories — the kind of stories that bind, and I couldn’t be more grateful to have spent those hours in that room with those women at that exact, most fragile time in my life as a parent. (Sara and Alli deserve a shout out here for making it possible, I think.)

Last week Delilah celebrated Shabbat for the first time in her life.  That seems crazy coming from a girl who was President (co-president, actually) of her Temple Youth Group as a teen, and I know my Mom is probably turning six shades of crimson seeing those words in print…but don’t worry Mom — we’ll let the record show you’ve invited us to do so on the regular.

Anyway, I think it was Erin who mentioned it first and by the time I’d talked to everyone in the room my mind was made up — we’d be starting a new tradition in the Shanahan house (Happy St. Paddy’s day, by the way!) and this week we kicked it off.  I baked two Challahs (my first and second ever). I gave one to my parents and we ate one ourselves (Challah french toast recipe coming soon…my time lapse crashed and burned) and HOLY MOSES IT WAS DELICIOUS.  And next week, I think I’ll do it again.  Ciaran’s two loaf stand mixer Challah recipe combined with Wendy’s lovely idea to give one to a different Jewish family in her neighborhood every week fit together beautifully to create my new tradition.  So if you’re a Jew and I know you…look out you may be on my Challah list.

So there you go…I talked about religion with a bunch of strangers and found some of my favorite parts of my childhood awakened just in time to pass the joy along to my own child.  Hooray Jews!

{And in case you missed it, here’s the Challah recipe.}

Feed Me Seymour

  16 comments for “I Made a Freaking Challah, and Other Thoughts About My Jewishness.

  1. EightTreeStreet
    March 18, 2012 at 5:04 pm

    @the818 what a fun post, I laughed and got hungry too;)

    • the818
      March 18, 2012 at 5:18 pm

      @EightTreeStreet ha, well we have plenty of leftovers!

  2. MSiega
    March 18, 2012 at 5:05 pm

    @the818 I have some thoughts.

    • the818
      March 18, 2012 at 5:13 pm

      @MSiega Shhhh…I’ll send you a challah.

  3. saving4someday
    March 19, 2012 at 9:35 am

    Morgan, YAY! And YAY some more!! The BlissMitzvah meetup at BlissDom is very special to me, and I’m so glad I could do it again this year and was supported by Alli Worthinton (and Dedra Herod) who provided us such a lovely meeting space. I get all verklempt thinking of that evening when it wasn’t about what we were wearing, or checking our phones or saying ‘the right thing’. I love that we all could support each other regardless of where we were in our being Jewish.
    I’m so glad you were part of BlissMitzvah and that it meant so much to you. Thank you for being part of the sisterhood!

  4. SassyScorpYM
    March 19, 2012 at 2:04 pm

    Um, get in my belly? Looks Delicioso!

  5. MBMomBlogger
    March 19, 2012 at 4:43 pm

    Our kids also went to a Jewish preschool and it was a lovely, sweet happy place for them.  I’m really glad we gave that gift to our kids!

  6. Sharlene
    March 19, 2012 at 8:31 pm

    Religion, no matter which one, is such a huge part of many of our childhoods and I thin it is important to share, especially all the fun stuff, with our kids.

  7. March 19, 2012 at 10:53 pm

    Where do you live?  I love homemade Challah.  Even if I am a shiksa.  I also like fried Matza.  Oy.

    • March 21, 2012 at 3:01 pm

      haha – I guess I can add you to my Challah list anyway. ;)

  8. natalie1
    March 19, 2012 at 11:19 pm

    I think it all plays a part in our lives when we need it! although challah we can eat daily!!!!

  9. Tisha
    March 20, 2012 at 12:19 am

    My oldest daughter went to a Jewish preschool for a brief time when we lived in New York, but they never made any Challah there! I feel so cheated! 
    My hubby was raised Jewish but he has also gotten away from “the tribe” as an adult. But he now works at a temple and my daughters sometime attend Shabbat there. They also go to the summer camp  at the school every year and I know my husband enjoys sharing with them stories of his youth and traditions that he grew up with.

  10. yvonnecondes
    March 20, 2012 at 9:13 am

    What a nice post. And great challah! I made Ciaran’s recipe too even though I was raised Catholic. Your post reminded me of how I was in Catholic church youth group through high school, but my kids have only been to church once. I feel bad that they’re missing out on something. 

  11. March 20, 2012 at 1:52 pm

    Wonderful post and so glad you got to connect and share with other Jewish women.  Definitely going to try to make Challah since I’ve seen it like twice now on blogs : )

    • March 21, 2012 at 2:57 pm

      It’s so delicious – especially on Sunday morning as French Toast!

  12. VanessaDiaz
    March 20, 2012 at 11:23 pm

    LOVE THE CHALLAH! And great post!

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