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Baking group prepares for Jewish New Year in Oklahoma City

The Emanuel Sisterhood group is preparing round challah bread at Emanuel Synagogue in Oklahoma City, just in time for the Jewish New Year.
by Carla Hinton Published: September 8, 2012

The recent clatter of pans and oven racks, accompanied by laughter and the enticing smell of homemade bread are signals that the Jewish High Holy Days are near at Emanuel Synagogue, 900 NW 47.

Since late July, members of the Emanuel Sisterhood women's group have been preparing for the holidays by baking dozens of loaves of round challah bread in the synagogue's kosher kitchen.

Challah in Hebrew means “loaf.” It is traditionally eaten on the Jewish Sabbath. However, during Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year, the bread dough is traditionally baked in the shape of a form of a circle to symbolize the desire for a new year that rolls around smoothly, without sorrow.

Rosh Hashana begins at sundown Sept. 16 and continues until sundown Sept. 18.

Amy Settles, the chairwoman in charge of the sisterhood's holiday baking, said the group bakes the bread for the Oklahoma City metro Jewish community because there is no kosher Jewish bakery in the area. She said the group takes orders for the traditional round challah like plain, poppy seed, sesame seed and raisin. Nontraditional flavors like cinnamon sugar and chocolate chunk (filled with chocolate chips) are offered as well.

Settles said the group typically takes about nine daylong sessions to complete all their orders. She said they hoped to have their last baking session in the coming week. They aren't taking any more orders for this year.

On a recent weekday, Settles was joined by sisterhood members Eleanor Miller, Brenda Hooper, Lisa Slater, Debra Wolraich and Lily Martin-Talebi in the Emanuel kitchen. Rita Pack, the synagogue's longtime kitchen supervisor, also joined in the baking session.

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by Carla Hinton
Religion Editor
Carla Hinton, an Oklahoma City native, joined The Oklahoman in 1986 as a National Society of Newspaper Editors minority intern. She began reporting full-time for The Oklahoman two years later and has served as a beat writer covering a wide...
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