16 cups of flour, 6 cups of water, 6 eggs, combine! Large quantities, to be sure, as I prepared 10 pounds of dough for Camp it Up’s inaugural challah-baking workshop. 10 families had signed up for the afternoon program, and would descend upon the camp dining room in a mere two hours!
When they finally did arrive, it was definitely controlled and curated chaos! But honestly, compared to my first family challah workshops last fall, this was a piece of cake; I now have a rhythm and a method to these programs, and there aren’t too many curveballs that can surprise me. What a difference all these months have made!
Throughout the braiding process, the resting period, and the egg-washing, participants shared memories of challah in their own lives, and new challah traditions that they have incorporated into their weekly schedules. Questions were asked, and tips were exchanged, along with a few hearty laughs.
And then the challahs went into the oven—for five minutes too long! No matter; though they looked very “well-done,” the insides were moist, and after participating in an intimate Kabbalat Shabbat gathering, campers thoroughly enjoyed them, complemented with a little buttery spread, of course!!
While we enjoyed half of the loaves, we gave the other half to the kitchen staff, in appreciation for all the incredible work that they had done during the previous week; keeping 200 hungry campers well fed and happy, in 95 degree weather, is no small task, and some warm fresh bread seemed like one way to show our thanks…
A much longer-term “Thank You” had also been in the works for the entire week; at the first Saturday evening program, Jill Rose, the camp director (of 26 years!) introduced her 26th camp song. Now let’s be clear, these are not little ditties; they are anthems, each and every one of them, with multiple verses, bridges, harmonies, and octave-hopping. Later that evening, as I was sitting in the dining room playing my ukulele, it occurred to me that it was high-time for a song of thanks to be written for Jill. So a couple of hours and a few hundred strums later, “Thank You” was completed. I surreptitiously taught it to other campers (mostly before of after our adult choir rehearsals), and during the final Saturday evening program, we surprised her, with the whole camp joining in for the choruses!
I had also teamed up with with Marguerite Young, who led adult arts courses at camp, and Claire Simons, who led the arts programs for children, and they produced a stunning mirror mosaic that was presented to Jill that evening, featuring the chorus of the song. Enjoy the song (recorded and mixed by the incomparable Dave Rosenfeld--I highly recommend him for small and large projects alike!), and the lyrics!
Interestingly, once I was on the thankfulness bandwagon, I was inspired to write two more small songs of thanks, one more general, and one focused on the food we eat. They were also recorded by Dave, and shared freely with you here.
Thanks for going on this journey with me, everyone, and a wonderful weekend to all!