Mushka Lein makes Shabbat meals new and different

As Shabbat approaches, Mushka Lein has a “whole method” to putting the kosher spread on the table for Chabad of the East Side, which includes online grocery ordering and “last minute chopping.”

Lein and her husband, Rabbi Yisroel Lein, lead Chabad of the East Side. “We’re the whole shpiel,” she said.

The couple moved from New York to Milwaukee more than six years ago. “It was an adjustment to be in a place where people are so rooted; could be hard to find your place,” she said about Milwaukee.

Lein has more than 300 followers on her Instagram page, where she posts some Shabbat menus and information on upcoming events.

She started the Young Jewish Professionals program, a social opportunity for people in their 20s and 30s “new to the community — looking for friendship,” she said.

Jews at that age are “not necessarily looking for Jewish practice,” Lein said. The Shabbat menu is hip. It is “new, different, trendy and exciting — to draw people in,” Lein said. The Shabbat dinners are held once a month, usually at her home on the east side.

Lein’s parents founded a Chabad in Connecticut in the 1970s. “My mother is the quintessential hostess,” she said. Shabbat in her childhood home was like “cooking for an army.”

As the mother to five boys and a baby girl, Lein has an “energetic household,” she said.

She hosts a family Shabbat twice a month, where all are welcome at her table. “Shabbos and food is really a part of our life,” she said. About her boys, “they love entertaining.”

She hosts a monthly Girls Challah Bake, which she said is “the mitzvah of challah.” Before they even braid the dough, they dedicate a small piece of dough to G-d as a symbol of “myself, my money, my food…G-d is a part of my physical life,” Lein said.

Cooking Shabbat meals she said is “taking my passion and giving back to G-d.”

For Mushka Lein’s Challah recipes, visit here.