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Week 40: "Goin' Home..."

Daniel Barash

After visiting Milwaukee, WI, last week for a family wedding, Aviva and I traveled on to Madison for an extended vacation with my parents, affectionately known as Zaide Lazer and Nana Trudy.

I like to think of this “Challah-it-Forward” project as a “year of sharing.” The concept of sharing can be thought of in so many ways; the sharing of challah, the sharing of compassion with the wider community, and in this case, the sharing of time with loved ones. And what a gift of time we had while visiting my parents; going out to eat, visiting the zoo, swimming at Goodman pool, playing at Madison Children’s Museum, attending Concerts on the Square, taking walks around the block with Charlie, my parent’s Golden Doodle, and reading books together morning, noon, and night!

Getting to know those close to you in an unhurried way is such a blessing, and I’m so grateful to have had this opportunity to strengthen the bonds of family.

Another highlight of the week was the “Challah-it-Forward” program that I led at Arboretum Cohousing (Arbco), an amazing community located in the heart of Madison. Cohousing is, according to the www.cohousing.org website, “a type of intentional, collaborative housing in which residents actively participate in the design and operation of their neighborhoods. Cohousing provides the privacy we are accustomed to within the community we seek. Cohousing residents consciously commit to living as a community. The neighborhood’s physical design encourages both individual space and social contact. Private homes contain all the features of conventional homes, but residents also have access to extensive common facilities such as open space, courtyards, a playground, and a common house.”

Our family has lived in cohousing communities in both the Washington, DC, area, and in Berkeley. In the DC area, we lived at one of the largest cohousing communities in the country, with 67 units(!), and now we live in a much smaller, human-scale community of 15 households.

 Marc Kornblatt

Marc Kornblatt

Prior to my visit home, I had discovered that one of my former Midrasha (hebrew high school) teachers, Marc Kornblatt, and his family (who are also good friends with my parents from the local synagogue), live at Arboretum Cohousing, and when I called Marc to see if folks at Arbco might want to have a “Challah-it-Forward” workshop right in the Common House kitchen, he jumped at the opportunity.

And not only that; Marc is an amazing actor, playwright, author, teacher, and filmmaker (find out more at Refuge Films), and when he asked if he might film the event and then create a short piece about “Challah-it-Forward,” I jumped at that opportunity!

Early on Friday, I prepared ten pounds of dough with Aviva, and then led eight members of the Arbco community through the challah-making paces later that morning. Marc was busy, busy, busy taking as much footage as possible, in a surprisingly totally unobtrusive way. He’s been working on the editing over the past week, and I’ve already seen some of the footage. With incredible close-ups, creative splicing, and a storyteller’s vision, Marc is creating quite a little gem of a film, and someday soon I will share it with all of you dear readers and hopefully the wider community as well!

Until next week…