Challah bakers hope to help find the key to freedom

The community is being urged to bake key-shaped challahs while praying for the return of the hostages


Shlissel challah (Photo: Tammy Isaacs)

The community is being invited to bake challah in the shape of a key as part of the campaign calling for the release of the hostages held in Gaza.

On the evening of May 2, the Hostages and Missing Families Forum is hosting an event for 133 women – corresponding to the number of hostages still being held captive – to each create a shlissel (Yiddish for “key”) challah.

The initiative is inspired by the custom that the first challah baked after Pesach is shaped like a key as an omen for good fortune. 

Nivi Feldman from the UK branch of The Hostages and Missing Families Forum said: “We want to bring 133 women together so we can do the mitzvah of hafrashat challah (separating the challah), blessing for the return of each and every hostage individually.”

She hoped that the shlissel challah would be “the key to us successfully bringing everyone home”.

The event is being hosted by The Hostages and Missing Families Forum UK challah committee, together with Shira Jackson from the United Synagogue’s Ma’ayan programme and Tami Isaacs from Karma Bread, who will be giving guidance on how to braid the challah. Cohens and Hendon Bagel Bakery have donated baking materials.

As well as the in-person event, organisers are inviting people to join virtually to bake a shlissel challah at home and upload photos onto social media using the hashtags #bringthemhomenow #key2freedom #bake4freedom #challah #tieayellowribbon, while tagging @BringHomeNow_UK

To register, click here.

Click here for the challah recipe and explanation of the mitzvah and here for a list of the names of the hostages to keep in mind while you are baking

To learn more about the tradition of baking shlissel challah, go to:The key to freedom – a new meaning for the shlissel challah

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