Braid­ed: A Jour­ney of A Thou­sand Challahs

December 18, 2018

Braid­ed tells the sto­ry of physi­cian-moth­er Beth Ricanati’s jour­ney and how it can help every­one become present ground­ed and more gain con­trol of our busy lives. 

Weav­ing her own sto­ry with those of her patients, and simul­ta­ne­ous­ly walk­ing the read­er through how to make chal­lah, the author shares the lessons that she’s learned mak­ing chal­lah weekly.

Imag­ine if you could bake chal­lah once a week every week? What if the smell of that chal­lah bak­ing turned your house into a home? What if the act of mak­ing that chal­lah — the mix­ing and knead­ing (by hand, no mix­er for this author!) the watch­ing and the wait­ing — could heal your heartache your sense of being over­whelmed? It can for you and for so many others.

Discussion Questions

Many con­tem­po­rary Jew­ish women expe­ri­ence lives of alter­nat­ing explo­ration and exhaus­tion. They pur­sue demand­ing careers and work to improve an imper­fect world, all while endeav­or­ing to cre­ate warm and expan­sive fam­i­ly lives. Beth Rica­nati, a physi­cian, describes how her week­ly com­mit­ment to bak­ing chal­lah has become her way of blend­ing these com­pet­ing goals. Of this heal­ing process, she writes, Now anoth­er moment of trans­for­ma­tion, though this more for me than for the bread itself. I break off a lit­tle piece and recite a prayer after the dough has risen and before I braid it. I always feel my blood pres­sure low­er when I pause to say this prayer — I feel phys­i­cal­ly bet­ter, calmer for recit­ing these words.” Ricanati’s inspir­ing mem­oir, which includes recipes, demon­strates how an ancient rit­u­al remains pro­found­ly mean­ing­ful in the twen­ty-first century