“To grow, spring up, or come forth”
-Definition of “sprout,” courtesy of Merriam-Webster Dictionary
This past week, Challah-it-Forward (CIF) worked with Sprout: Helping Jewish Families Grow Together, “a network for Jewish families looking for Jewish educational resources, opportunities to meet other parents, and explore Jewish life in the East Bay.” The initiative is sponsored by The Jewish Federation and The Jewish Community Foundation of the East Bay, and includes Liora Brosbe as the Youth and Family Concierge position.
How was the seed of this collaboration between CIF and Sprout planted? Over coffee of course! About six weeks ago, Liora hosted a “Coffee with the Concierge” event at Berkeley’s Allegro Coffee Bar. It was basically a meet-up, in which parents could ask questions, share with each other, and receive support (both the caffeine kind, and the “I’ve been there, too!" variety).
After I shared a bit about the Challah-it-Forward initiative, someone asked, “Can I do that?!” which was followed by a small chorus of “How fun, me too!” Liora and I then brainstormed for a bit, and came up with the idea of co-sponsoring a CIF bake in the Common House of my cohousing community.
So last Friday, eight East Bay families came together, some with young children, some with older children, and some with grown children. Together we measured, poured, mixed, kneaded, and shaped our many challahs. While the bread was baking, I shared the “Challahs in the Ark” song and other Shabbat tunes. When the loaves were ready, and finally came out of the oven, we all broke bread, together!
At event's conclusion, each participant took home a loaf for their Shabbat table, and donated one to “Challah-it-Forward.” And where did these challahs go? All around the Bay Area, in fact!
At the suggestion of some of the morning’s participants, some loaves were shared with clients of Shalom Bayit, a Bay Area grassroots organization that seeks to “foster the social change and community response necessary to eradicate domestic violence in the Jewish community.” They do this with a comprehensive menu of programs that provide support, education, and advocacy. My partner Mark took some loaves to residents at San Quentin State Prison, as part of a Kabbalat Shabbat visit from Urban Adamah, a Jewish Urban Farm located right here in Berkeley. One loaf went to Chaparral House, where Aviva and I lead Shabbat song gatherings on the first Friday of every month. And one challah went to Berkeley Cohousing for their Friday Night Common Meal.
Talk about spreading the dough around! What a very rich and full baking-it-forward experience this week!
A hearty early Shabbat Shalom to you and yours…