In NYC challah is a part of the culture. For many of us who are of the Jewish faith a challah is the sign of a celebration, a festival meal be it Shabbat or a High Holiday. Our weddings and bar/bat mitzvah celebrations begin with a special blessing on a challah, a “Motzi”, as it is known, is lovingly performed by a beloved elder.
EVERYONE loves challah. Many simply buy it because they enjoy the unmistakable taste of the sweet, egg-y, doughy soft creation of my ancestors. At this time of year the long braided challahs are replaced by round spiral shaped challahs. It leaves some perplexed as not everyone who eats challah does so for any religious purpose.
Why for a few weeks a year does this happen? So many of our customers ask so I thought the answer would make an interesting blog post.
In its simplest terms the holiday challah is symbolically round to reflect a few themes of the Jewish New Year. It represents the circle of life and marks the cyclical nature of the passage of a year. During this time we are to be introspective, looking back as we plan ahead, taking stock of all that has transpired and endeavoring to make resolutions to continue to better ourselves as human beings.
The holiday challah is not simply round, it is also spiraled and reaches upward suggesting that we all do the same. As we turn, in a circular motion, cycling through another year we are to also rise up, like the challah to higher aspirations, spiritually speaking.
The symbolism is beautiful and universally transcendental no matter what your religious beliefs are. It is customary during Rosh Hashanah to dip the round challah into honey as a wish for a sweet New Year to come.
This year I am bringing home our new Fairway Wildflower Honey for our festival meal. It has more depth of flavor than traditional clover honey as it is derived from the nectar of many different wild flowers. It has such a lovely rustic aromatic bouquet; it will certainly help to get our year off to a sweet start.
From all of us in the extended Fairway Market Family, whether you celebrate the Jewish New Year or simply just enjoy a scrumptious challah on occasion, we wish you and yours a wonderful, peaceful and healthy year ahead.