Baking Challah with PJ Library®

Catching up with the Russian-Speaking Community Connectors

Earlier this year, the Federation's PJ Library® program launched a pilot for Russian-Speaking Community Connectors in San Francisco, Foster City, and Palo Alto, in an effort to link Russian-speaking families with friendly and knowledgeable liaisons. Families can attend programs in Russian, meet new people, and explore Jewish community together.

This post is part of a series chronicling these connectors' experiences in the community.

This spring, I had the opportunity to bring together a diverse group of families to participate in a challah-baking activity. A couple of families came to the Bay Area in the 1980's wave of immigration, but a few families were newcomers who moved to Palo Alto from Australia and Israel less than a year ago. While children were playing, the parents spoke to each other about their immigration stories, which led to a discussion of local Jewish resources.

When it was time for the challah bake-off, we spoke about the tradition of baking challah and read two PJ Library books: My First Shabbat and It’s Challah Time. Both kids and parents read the books, looked at the pictures, and discussed how wonderful it is to bake fresh bread as a Shabbat tradition.

We prepared to braid the challah by praciticing with shoelaces. Once the children were comfortable with braiding, we moved to the table to work with the dough. While they worked on their challah, we put a pre-made challah into the oven for everyone to enjoy. At the end of the day, we all shared the freshly-baked challah together, and the families each took home their own challot.

PJ Library® sends free Jewish books and music on a monthly basis to children ages 6 months through 8 years of age throughout the Bay Area. Sign up today!

To learn more about our Russian-Speaking Community Connectors, contact Irina Klay, or call 415.512.2883.


September 05, 2017


Irina Krupnik