Re: Challah twists as a sign of family origin #general


On Jan.02, 2005, Alan Steinfeld ( wrote:

I recall reading an article, several years ago, on the use of the design
of the braid in a loaf of challah as an indication of the site of origin
of a family. Does anyone know where the article appeared?
Challah is a subject I'd never before given a single thought to, let alone a
second one! I do remember that when I was very young, my father would to stop
on the way home >from his office at a neighborhood bakery to pick up a loaf of
challah, before he proceeded a few steps more to buy the evening newspaper at
the candy and sundries store around the corner on Broadway.

Although I don't recall eating this bread, I do remember I did not much like
it because it was too sweet. (Friday evening meals, prepared by our live-in
long-suffering Czech maid, were very bland and dull. They usually consisted of
falling-apart slices of white fish, some mushy potatoes, and soggy string
beans. Whether they were served on Fridays or other days dinners at the
Feldmans were usually grim. Not only was the food almost always unappetizing
but hovering over it was the palpably hostile tension between my parents,
even when my brother, who was a main cause of that tension, was not present
at the table. Often this tension broke into angry words. My mother often
resorted to using a tissue or handkerchief which she'd kept tucked in her
sleeve, and when the exchanges became too oppressive, as they almost always
did, she would rise >from the table to go to the bathroom >from which she would
return to the dinner table with a fresh tissue, and spend the rest of the
mealtime dabbing her reddened, moist eyes.)

Still, although I do not have fond memories of Friday nights, I thought Mr.
Steinfeld's question mildly interesting so I did a quick search on the
internet. Using the search terms "challah braiding," I first turned up some
websites which offered what was to me an astonishing midrashic story that God
had braided Eve's hair before presenting Adam with his (second?)mate.
Elsewhere on the Interet I also read about the significance of round challahs.

I then altered my search terms a little, and found a website which offered an
abstract of an article by Joan Nathan. The article was entitled "Braids,
Birds, and Corns" and was published in 1992 by Moment Magazine. According to the
articles' abstract, Ms. Nathan recounts the history and origin of Challah and
"explains the variations in types of bread, shape and braiding of Hallah as
reflected in the customs and traditions evolved in different countries, by
different ethnic groups and through the ages."

Mr. Steinfeld might try writing to "" to find out where
or in which Moment Magazine issue he can read the full article. or he can try: .

Naomi Fatouros (nee FELDMAN)
Bloomington, Indiana
BELKOWSKY,BIELKOWSKY, BILKOWSKI, Odessa,St. Petersburg,Berdichev,
Kiev;ROTHSTEIN, Kremenchug;FRASCH,Kiev;LIBERMAN,Moscow;FELDMAN, Pinsk;
SCHUTZ, RETTIG, WAHL, Shcherets;LEVY, WEIL, Mulhouse; SAS/SASS,Podwolochisk;
RAPOPORT, Tarnopol, Podwolochisk, Radomysl?; BEHAM, Salok, Kharkov;

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