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