Challah, as you may already know is the traditional Jewish bread eaten on Jewish holidays. Did you know, though, that there is religious significance, and it isn’t merely a cultural practice? In this post you will learn about the importance of Challah in Jewish tradition, how Challah is different from other breads, and at the end there are two recipes.
According to the Torah, while the Israelites wandered in the desert after the Exodus from Egypt, God provided a special kind of food,called manna.
The house of Israel named it manna, and it was like coriander seed, white, and its taste was like wafers with honey. ~ Exodus 16:31
The Torah continues to explain that the Israelites were commanded to take only what they needed, except on the Sabbath (and other holidays?), where they should collect double portion.
Therefore, the Challah is a symbol to remember that God took us out of Egypt and provided us with food. Jews traditionally have double portions of Challah on the Sabbath and other holidays to further remember that Israelites collected double portions in preparation.
What makes it different than other bread?
– traditionally it does not include butter or milk
– shapes: braided–what’s its significance?; rosh hashanah (link to post about what rosh hashanah is) challah is traditionally round.
According to Jewish law and practice, salting challah is a critical component of HaMotzi, the blessing over bread. Salt has always played an indispensable role in Jewish life and ritual dating back to the biblical period of ancient Israel. With high quantities located in the Dead Sea region of the historical land of the Jewish people, salt was considered the most essential and common of all elements.
In the Torah, salt symbolizes the eternal covenant with God. As a preservative, the mineral never spoils or decays, signifying the immortality of this bond. Moreover, adding taste to food, salt represents a covenant with God that has meaning and flavor.
The religious significance of salt is discernible in the Temple Period as portrayed in Jewish liturgy. The importance of salt in ritual is symbolized in the ceremony of the covenant, or the Temple sacrifice to God. Since according to Jewish tradition it is the most important necessity of life, salt is a requisite for the ‘food of God,’ or the Temple sacrifice. As commanded by God in Leviticus 2:13, “with all thy sacrifices, thou shalt offer salt.” It seems in this verse that salt is required for meal-offerings only; however, rabbis later concluded that just as no sacrifices can be offered without the presence of priests, no sacrifices can be offered without salt.
Following the destruction of the Temple, Jewish ritual was redefined to exist in a diaspora. Rabbinic literature constructed a concept suggesting that a table set for a meal was to symbolize the Temple altar. Salt should be placed on the table and the blessing over food should not be recited without it.
Traditional Challah: http://blogs.forward.com/the-jew-and-the-carrot/154903/shabbat-meals-honey-challah/
Funkier Challah: http://smittenkitchen.com/blog/2012/09/fig-olive-oil-and-sea-salt-challah-book-tour/
Challah – how do you make it, traditions behind it, the different shapes and varieties, why you burn one piece, etc. then – best challah bakeries
One of our favorite groups, Ecclesia Church has returned to the country for another two Breaking Bread Journeys bringing with them over 40 people to experience the many fascinating cultures present in the Holy Land. Day 1 of their tour took them into Nablus to visit Jacobs Well, a tasting tour led by local women, a scrumptous lunch with the local Iman, knafe, henna and more. Then they visited the Samaritans on top of Mt. Gerazim and enjoyed wine tasting at a boutique Jewish winery in the neighboring settlement.
For five years, the Jerusalem Season of culture has been ushering in an assortment of creative events emanating straight from Jerusalem.
This summers program is expected to build on the very complex, and uniquely artistic and cultural backdrop of Jerusalem in all its complexity ad color. A number of fantastic events are schedule throughout the summer and Breaking Bread Journeys highly recommends that if you want to truly taste Jerusalem in all its glory, make sure to participate in one of these upcoming events.
In-House Festival: July 27-31
The In-House Festival will explore the meaning of “home” in public spaces. In the project HaKol Galui, for example, we will invite participants (in collaboration with the architectural department of the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design) to a fascinating sound work among the abandoned homes of the Lifta village where Palestinians lived before being replaced by immigrants from Yemen and Kurdistan. Today the area is mainly frequented by ultra-orthodox men who come to swim in the natural springs, homeless people who are looking for a broken roof over their heads, and property sharks. Renana Raz will re-examine the hearing concerning a complaint against the teacher Adam Verete that was posted on Facebook by one of his students. This pivotal event, which raised questions about the limits of democracy, the status of the educator and whether or not freedom of speech really exists, is treated to some fascinating and extraordinary artistic therapy which will take place in The Israeli Democracy Institute.
Contact Point: August 6 (We love this!)
A magical night of art and people at the Israel Museum will bring dozens of artists together to present a number of contact points produced especially for the 50th jubilee year, including the “The Exhibition of Exhibitions that Never Were” in which we will reveal the exhibitions that were not staged for a variety of different reasons, and “Catalogues,” in which the catalogues that have been issued by the museum over the last 50 years will be used to make new works.
Knock Knock: August 9-13
Night. A standard hotel room in the center of Jerusalem. You approach the reception desk, check in and receive your key. This is the first step in a unique theatrical experience that will bring the audience together with actors, musicians, chefs, chambermaids, dancers, broadcasters and directors who will create intimate, surprising and very special experiences. Feel free to let go, lose yourself, go wild, hide away, or immerse yourself in thought.
Frontline: August 16-20
Back for the third time Frontline presents Jerusalem’s independent music scene. Among other things, there will be an abstract concert by brilliant electronic artist, Gilbert, playing a vintage keyboard or Marki Funk’s psychedelic groove project
Under the Mountain: August 23-28
The Under the Mountain Festival of New Public Art will focus on history’s biggest and most important stage—the Temple Mount. No doubt this artistic expression with some 20 artists will be newsworthy.
The Jerusalem Sacred Music Festival August 30-September 4
In its 4 th year, the Jerusalem Sacred Music Festival will brings together musicians from all religions from around the world for collaborative and engaging performances
The extended, week-long festival will unfold in five locations and include 25 performances by a long and exciting list of musicians and artists from 16 countries: Jonny Greenwood (UK) and Shye Ben Tzur in an international debut that combines East and West in Rajasthan, Shuli Rand will perform songs recorded by the guru of secularity, Meir Ariel, Mark and Piris Eliyahu will lead the Maqam Ensemble, pianist Omri Mor will play with legendary Algerian drummer, Karim Ziad, Mohammad Reza Mortazavi (Iran) and Zohar Fresco (Israel) will drum together on the same stage, Itamar Doari will appear in an exclusive performance with the best of Spain’s Flamenco, and Max Romeo, one of the founding fathers of reggae, will light up Zion.
For additional information:
Tamar Gur: 052-3024949 firstname.lastname@example.org
Kim Weiss: 054-5377130 email@example.com
To purchase tickets:
Ramadan, is the name of the ninth month of the Muslim calendar year and in that month Muslims around the world practice the fourth pillar of Islam which is the “Sawm” of the Fast of Ramadan.
As Muslims keep the lunar calendar, the Ramadan month travels through the secular calendar, coming ten or eleven days earlier each year. This means that when Ramadan falls during the winter months the fast is fairly easy, however, in the summer months the fast is quite strenuous due to the long hot days.
Ramadan is a very special time for Muslims as it was during Ramadan that Allah chose to call Mohamad (pbuh) to be a Prophet and sent the first revelations of the Qur’an. That’s why Ramadan is considered a time of spiritual and physical discipline and for making extra effort to spread love, peace and reconciliation.
The Ramadan Fast involves giving up all food, liquid, smoke and sexual intercourse during the hours of daylight for the entire month along with the peaceful and prayerful attitude of mind, however all these things are allowed after sunset, until the first light of the next day’s dawn.
Although fasting makes people feel very tired and weak, food is prepared very carefully during Ramadan, a difficult task for those preparing the food as they have to resist the temptation of eating or tasting the food, if this is done it will not be counted as breaking the fast as long as it wasn’t deliberate. As the time of breaking the fast called “Iftar” (also known as breakfast) draws near, people feel excited, hungry and proud of their achievement. They wait for the call to end the fast that comes from the minaret which is broadcast on TV and radio. As soon as the sun sets, the fast is broken with a sweet drink such as apricot juice and some fruit, often dates because this was the habit of the Prophet. The main meal will be served after the evening Maghrib prayer is said. This can be an elaborate feast as friends and relatives are often invited.
Most Muslims read the entire Qur’an during this month, and many men go to the mosque each night for prayers known as “Tarawih” during which the whole text is read through often by special “huffaz” (people who know the Qur’an by heart) to lead these special prayers.
People who would undergo real suffering by a fast are excused from the fast, this applies to people who need to be nourished, such as small children and old people, and expectant and nursing mothers. People whose condition would be made worse by fasting are also excused, such as menstruating women, soldiers in battles, people travelling on long trips, and the mentally ill. All these people should however make up for the fasts they have missed any possible other time throughout the year or if not possible then they should donate the cost of two meals to the poor for each missed fast-day.
Some Muslims go into retreat for the last ten days of Ramadan, this is called “I’tikaf”. They withdraw altogether from ordinary life and devote their entire time to prayer and reading the Qu’ran.
Traditionally, the night of the Descent of the Qu’ran is celebrated on the 27th day of the month of Ramadan, this is called “Laylat al-Qadr”. Many Muslims spend this entire night in the mosque, reading the Qur’an and praying together with the belief that if they spend the whole night in prayer and meditation, they will be granted the blessings as if the had prayed for a thousand nights.
Ramadan is a time of joy and Muslims look forward to it as a time of great joy, family celebrations, entertaining of guests and reconciliation. It is normal during this month to stay up very late at night and get up early for the “Suhur” or the pre-dawn meal in preparation for another long day of fasting. Traditionally, a drummer called the “Musaharati” still roams the streets drumming and waking people up for prayer and this early morning snack, in some cities this call is still made by a cannon being fired.
One can feel this beautiful and celebratory atmosphere as the street, shops and homes are all decorated with colorful lights that come into effect at sunset when the fast is broken. Special meals and sweets can only be seen and bought during this month. A time of joy that will peak with the “Eid el-Fitr” or the feast celebrating the end of Ramadan and end of the Ramadan fast.
Wishing our Muslim friends and colleagues a blessed fast and Ramadan Kareem!!
If you go:
Should you be in Jerusalem during Ramadan you can get a sense of the holiday by visiting East Jerusalem. A few favorite spots include:
1.Jerusalem’s Nablus Road, which is filled with vendors sellling all types of gifts, household, crafts, specialty foods and other items,
2. The Damascus Gate in Jerusaelm is bustling with people of all ages and there are many vendors selling grilled food items, teas and other food and drink items
3. The Muslim quarter within the Old City of Jerusalem is decorated with festive lights that have been strung along the walls and across the alleyways.
So, the holidays are coming up and you’re thinking about how to plan your Holy Land tour. With so many choices of things to do and places to see – organizing your Holy Land tour might seem overwhelming – particularly if you are visiting over the Passover and Easter holidays. No worries. Breaking Bread Journeys has put together our Top 10 list of Must See experiences!
Breaking Bread Journeys recommends the following Top 10 Must Do experiences over the upcoming holidays below. Read thru and start planning your visit today. (not in any particular order)
1. Join the Palm Sunday and/or Good Friday Processions
Approximately 5,000 to 10,000 people are expected the Palm Sunday and Good Friday processionals.
The Palm Sunday procession is led by the Latin Patriarchate and begins at Bethphage and continues into the Old City entering through the St. Stephen’s Gate and ending at the Church of St. Anne. The procession is on Sunday March 29, 2015 at 2:30 p.m. and commemorates the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem
The Good Friday procession (Via Crucis) is at 11:30 a.m on April 5, 2015.
Led by the Franciscan Friars and the procession begins at the First Station of the Cross in the Old City and follows the path that Jesus took on the day of his death, known as the Way of the Cross on the Via Dolorosa. According to Father Juan Solana, the local representative of the Holy See,”Being a part of this very special procession and a unique experience for any Christian.”
2. Participate in a Passover Seder
Over the last several years more Christians are seeking to understand the roots of Christianity and one of the best ways to delve deeper is to study the Torah and celebrate a Passover seder. Unlike Easter which is celebrated by attending mass, the Passover Seder is a true family celebration. If you have an opportunity to attend a seder grab it. It is a wonderfully meaningful experience.
3. Visit the Holy Sepulchre on Good Friday or on Easter Sunday
Visit the Holy Sepulchre on Good Friday. This shrine is where the last five Stations of the Cross are located. No Easter in the Holy Land is complete without exploring this historic shrine. The Good Fridan services: 8.00 a.m. – Celebration of the Passion of the Lord, Calvary. The doors will remain opened.4.00 p.m. – The Liturgy of the Hours. 8.10 p.m. – “Funeral” Procession.
On Easter Sunday the services are as follows
7:30 a.m. – Entry into the Basilica by the Latin Patriarch
8:00 a.m. – Solemn Mass of Resurrection and Procession around the Rotunda
5:00 p.m. – Daily Procession
4. Tour Mt. Zion
If authenticity is what you are seeking than make sure to visit the Upper Room located at Mount Zion and read about the resurrection in the Gospels while you are there. Jesus’s appearance to the Apostles occurred in the Upper Room.
The Upper Room is open daily from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 pm. On Holy Thursday, April 2 – at 3:30 p.m. there is a Pilgrimage to the Cenacle and to the Church of St. James.
5. Attend “Resurrection Sunday” at the Garden Tomb
Easter Sunday also referred to as “Resurrection Sunday”, is a special day at the Garden Tomb and services are held at April 5 at 6:30 am and 9:30 in English, Scandanavian at 11 and Korean at 12. Moreover the Garden Tomb also holds its annual Arabic Easter event which coincides with Orthodox Easter and which brings together 500 to 600 Arab and Israeli believers. Seeing both Israelis and Palestinians together in prayer makes this an even more spiritually significant event. This event is scheduled for April 11 in the afternoon. Call 02-539-8100 for details.
6. Wake up early and attend Holy Fire Ceremony
The highlight of Orthodox Easter is the the Holy Fire Ceremony that only happens in Jerusalem, inside the Church of the Holy Sepulchre on the Sunday after Passover.
On April 11 Orthodox Christians gather very early in the morning and will squeeze into the Church of the Sepulchre for the annual Holy Fire Ceremony.
7. Attend the Priestly Blessing at the Western Wall
The very special priestly blessing that is said during the Passover holiday take place on the third day of Passover, April 6, 2015. Known as the Bircat Cohanim, the blessing is recited twice at the Western Wall in Jerusalem, first at 9 am during the morning service and again at 10 am during the Musaf service.
You will hear the leader of the service reciting the blessing over the loudspeaker in order that everyone can follow and recite the blessing in unison.
8. Enjoy Free entrance to the Israel Museum on April 10, 2015
Israel Museum celebrates the Passover holiday with free entrance on Friday April 10 only, from 10 am to 2 pm. Moreover, in celebration of its 50th year, a fantastic new new exhibit just opened, “6 Artists / 6 Projects.” Special note: Bank Hapoalim often sponsors free entrances to a number of museums all over the country during the intermediate days of Passover, April 5 – 9, 2015. Make sure to check Bank Hapoalim’s website as the holiday approaches to see what entrances they will be hosting.
9. Dead Sea Music Festival – April 5 – 9, 2015
If you love music, the Dead Sea Music Festival is the festival for you. For the 19th year, Israelis and tourists from abroad will descend to the Dead Sea for this highly anticipated rock music festival where they will enjoy performances by top Israeli artists. Tip: Make sure to catch one of the famous Masada sunrise performances. (usually David Broza performs and if so, don’t miss it).
10. 8th Annual Stone in the Galilee Sculpting Symposium – Maalot-Tarshiha, April 5 – 8, 2015
This international stone sculpting festival is now in its 20th year and brings together many international artists as well as Israel’s most prominent sculptors creating art for public spaces. The festival includes dialogues as well as an indoor exhibition. Call 04-9578888
Bedouins, an Arab ethnic group, with the name translating to “nomad” is a minority population in Israel of over 114,000 people. Bedouins are historically from the Middle East and Africa. Traditionally, they live in clans and majority of Bedouins that live in Israel are located in Israel’s Southern region, in the Negev Desert. Meeting with Bedouins and experiencing their hospitable culture is definitely an opportunity you cannot miss while touring the Holy Land.
Visiting with Bedouins can be a couple of hours up to a few days, depending on what you want. Typical Bedouin hospitality involves receiving food and tea/coffee in a large tent, along with a tour of where they live and getting a camel ride in the desert. You will also hear about Bedouin traditions and culture.
A great resource with different Bedouin communities to visit can be found HERE. Below are a few of the communities from the wesbite I want to highlight:
1. Kfar Hanokdim is used to hosting both large and intimate groups. It offers various meals, activities (such as making Bedouin coffee), camel and donkey treks, and has tents, lodges, and cabins for overnight stays. Although the interactions with Bedouins are genuine, it is important to know that this destination is geared for national and international tourists.
Click HERE to go to Kfar Hanokdim’s direct website.
2. Desert Ship (Sfinat Hamidbar), close to the main desert city of Be’er Sheva, is also a wonderful experience including Bedouin meals, camel rides, jeep tours and safaris into the desert. Additionally, this destination offers drum circles, Bedouin music, and overnight accommodations in both tents and bungalows.
3. The Hidden Village definitely is a genuine, authentic experience. The host, named Salman, is the head of the village and will share with you his experiences as a Bedouin for the past 30 years. He will also speak about the tough decisions Bedouins today have to make in Israel, such as which type of education he wants for his children.
For more details of the experience, check out THIS post.
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To learn about another minority population in Israel, check out “10 Facts about Druze“!
Since Israel is located in the Northern Hemisphere, it experiences winter from December until March. Winter is a beautiful season in the Holy Land, especially because of its flowers. Below is a list of the top 10 hikes throughout the Holy Land that highlight the beautiful winter flowers.
1. Scarlet South Festival, Southern Israel (Negev) Region
Every weekend (Friday and Saturday) in February, you have the opportunity to attend this festival where you will see the desert blooming. Not only will you see green in the desert, you will see beautiful red anemones. At this festival there will be free tours, information stations, and a walk through the anemones.
Click HERE for more information!
2. Lupine Hill, Central/Jerusalem Region
Lupine Hill is located near the city of Beit Shemesh, and is where the biblical story of the battle between David and Goliath took place. Based on its name, this hill is covered with purple lupines.
Click HERE for directions and additional details!
3. Sataf, Jerusalem Region
Sataf has impressive agricultural remains from the Copper Age and Byzantine Period. It also was a Palestinian/Arab village that was depopulated in the war of 1948. This land is now has a marked trail with reconstruction of the ancient terraces with olives, grapevines and fruit trees. Towards the end of winter, flowers bloom from the fruit trees.
Click HERE for more information!
4. The Valley of Narcissus’, Tel Aviv Region
North of Tel Aviv, in an area called Gililot, there is a beautiful valley filled with….take a guess…narcissuses! Daffodils also make an appearance in this valley.
Click HERE for more information!
5. Carmel Scenic Route, Northern Region
In Hebrew, this route is called “Derech Nof Carmel,” and can be hiked, biked, or driven. This route will take you through valleys, orchards, and pine trees and is around 15.5 miles (25 kilometers).
Click HERE for directions and more information!
6. Mount Gilboa, Northern Region
In addition to historical sites and viewpoints, while hiking the trails on Mount Gilboa, you will notice the ground covered in wild flowers, including the purple Gilboa iris.
Click HERE for more information!
7. Meitar & Yatir Forests, Southern Region
These forests are located near the Dead Sea, and are situated between Hebron and Be’er Sheva. They were strategically placed close to the political border of Israel and Palestinian territories. In these forests you can see special eucalyptus trees, such as Coral Gum, which has big red flowers. Additionally, at certain viewpoints, you can see the beautiful hills of Hebron.
Click HERE for more information!
8. Cyclamen Hills, Central & Northern Regions
Cyclamen, “rakefet” in Hebrew are one of the popular winter flowers in Israel. The variety of color can be located in multiple areas in Israel including: Tal Shahar, Gilad, Alonei Yitzhak, and Karmei Yosef.
Click HERE to read a recent article about these areas!
9. Adullam-France Park, Jerusalem Region
Throughout this park’s trails, there are open meadows filled with beautiful wildflowers. In this region you will notice that from all the terraces, this land is perfect for agricultural cultivation. It is important to note that this park is now located where the Palestinian villages of both ‘Ajjur and Kudna once were located.
Click HERE for more information!
10. Nahal Prat/Wadi Kelt, Jericho Region
This trail is located in the desert between Jericho and Jerusalem. It has breathtaking views of the open hills.
Click HERE for more information (and about other great hikes in the West Bank)!
Know of other great places to hike in the region during the winter? Let us know in the comments below! Happy hiking!