Meredith Fried, a Temple Beth Shalom member in Needham, participated in Parenting Through a Jewish Lens (Ikkarim) four years ago. When she signed up, she didn’t know that much about the class, but felt that anything that could help in raising her children sounded good!  

Little did I know just how transformative this experience would be.  

The topics covered in the Ikkarim curriculum included things like: the bond between a parent and child, the partnership of marriage, interpersonal communication, and making our world a better place.  Of course, just discussing these topics on their own would have been a great learning opportunity. But the thing that really made the class come alive was the opportunity to talk about these things from a Jewish perspective and discussing how to integrate these ideas and values into our daily lives.  

It became a practical guide for helping us build our Jewish homes and families.  What we learned during that year really helped us frame how we do so many of the things that we still do today.

As a result of the program, Meredith started baking challah each Friday morning for her family to enjoy over Shabbat dinner. She shared her recipe below – we invite you to try it out!

Want to try out Parenting Through a Jewish Lens? Visit to find a sample classes in your area or to register for next fall’s program.

created at: 2011-03-17


Challah Bread
(Adapted from Margaret McConchie’s recipe)

3 eggs (or egg replacement)
7 cups bread flour
2 pkgs or 4 1/2 tsp Rapid Rise Yeast
2 tsp salt
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup canola oil
2 cups very warm water (bath temperature)
1/4 cup honey
Poppy seeds (optional)
Let eggs get to room temperature (if using eggs). 

Put 5 cups of the bread flour in mixer bowl.  Add yeast, salt, sugar.  Blend, keeping mixer on low, with the regular beater (not the dough hook).  Add 3 eggs one at a time, then oil, then water.  Put mixer on higher speed, squirt in 4 big squirts of honey (about 1/4 cup). 

Turn off mixer, scrape off beater, replace with dough hook.  Turn it on low. 

Add the remaining 2 cups bread flour gradually.  Let it knead for 5-6 minutes, until the dough is mostly pulled away from the sides. 

Leave in the bowl, put a dishtowel over it, and leave it to rise in a warm place for 2-3 hours until doubled in size (in the summer it’s fine on the counter– if it is cold in your kitchen you might want to put it in your oven that has been turned on to warm and then turned off, with a pan of water in the bottom of the oven). 

Punch the dough down, turn it out onto a floured surface.  Cut it into four even parts, then cut each part into three parts.  Make the parts into long snakes, and braid them. 

Put all 4 loaves together on one cookie sheet.  If using eggs, you can make a shiny coating for the Challah by separating an egg, mixing the yolk with 1 tsp of water, and brushing the egg mixture all over the tops of the Challahs, then sprinkle on poppy seeds. 

Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes.



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