Since I do feel that is it my duty here on the blog to report on all things Jewish on the calendar, I'm just writing a short post about two seemingly unconnected things that are really quite connected. What is the connection between Schlissel challah and Holocaust Rememberance Day, Yom HaShoah?
First of all, yesterday was the day observed in Israel to remember the Holocaust.......sirens are sounded, traffic stops and people everywhere stand in silence. Experienceing this first hand especially in the middle of a busy city or on a highway is really quite moving, though there is a debat e among some Jews whether indeed standing in silence is actually a "Jewish" thing and therefore maybe not the best way to remember the 6 million who were were senselessly murdered. I won't go into that here, instead I will mention that one of the very best ways to remember those who perished is by connecting to them by bringing their essence into our lives today. Of course if one has relatives that were murdered, that is so much easier, but even if not, by living our lives today proudly as Jews, and going out of our way to adhere to Jewish tradition, those 6 million souls will never be forgotten.
And that brings me to the tradition of schlissel challah, a tradition carried out by Ashkenazic Jews to make challahs in the shape of a key, or with a key baked in them the very first shabbos after Passover. And since last shabbos was still Passover for all the Jews living outside of Israel, and for the rest of us, it was impossible to actually bake challahs for that shabbos, this shabbos is the time to observe this tradition. I have made schlissel challahs for years, and you can see my previous efforts by doing a search, but this year my local store did not yet have flour in stock after Passover, and with the husband out of town I figured I'd give myself a little break, and make schlissel challahs, next week. (Some say that the tradition can be interpreted as making key shaped challahs the very first time you bake challahs after Passover, so I'm going with that one!) I'll admit though, I'm a bit sad that I couldn't make it happen this week, then again next week with the husband back home it will be much more fun to present those giant challah keys!
So while the idea of remembering the Holocaust by observing Jewish tradition certainly can be expounded upon, I really must run, as shabbos is coming and I still have lots of things to do before sundown. I will make one promise: this week as I light my shabbos candles I'm going to consciously connect to the women who perished in the Holocaust who themselves lit shabbos candles, ushering in the holy shabbat, just as I do today.
May we only see peace and the abolishment of evil from this world, shabbat shalom, good shabbos!