Students, faculty and members of Sarasota's Jewish community had their work cut out for them at Hershorin Schiff Community Day School first ever "Challah-ween" bake-off.
Challah critics tried nearly a dozen different loaves of challah bread on Friday afternoon at Hershorin Schiff Community Day School, which were donated by local grocery stores and religious leaders.
Temple Emanu-El Assistant Rabbi Michael Shefrin was among the panel of taste testers.
“I want my memory jogged with these challahs,” Shefrin said. “Challah is one of the quintessential Jewish foods. It reminds me of family, tradition and holiness.”
Before the competition, students made challah bread of their own. Community Day School Director of Jewish Learning Melissa Werbow said she used 50 pounds of flour to make 70 loaves of challah bread for 206 children to take home.
"My husband, Rabbi (Michael) Werbow, is usually the one who makes the challah bread at our home,” Werbow said. “But now I can say that I have 70 loaves of challah under my belt.”
Rabbi Werbow's challah-baking experience showed when it was announced he won first place in the bake off.
Challah bread is a doughy, braided bread typically eaten during the Sabbath and other Jewish holidays. In addition to the bake-off, students learned about the significance of challah during the Jewish Sabbath called Shabbat.
"Challah is shabbat in the sense that it’s an all day process which means we’re thinking about shabbat all day long,” Melissa Werbow said. "The labor that you put into it and then you enjoy the rest of shabbat."