ChallahFromHome has spread all over social media.
This Shabbat will only be the 11th #ChallahFromHome, but it already feels like an enduring institution.
The digital world is now filled with pictures of challah accom- panied by the Milwaukee-born #ChallahFromHome hashtag. Clicking on the hashtag leads Internet users to tons of people who are making Challah at home, then posting it.
On Facebook, the ones you see are generally limited to your friends or people who have made their posts public. Still, the organizers have been doing their best to track it all.
“We have counted 273 unique individuals who have posted and used the hashtag,” said Rabbi Shari Shamah in late May. “We’ve now reached five different countries.”
Those are Israel, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and Prague.
It has gone nationwide, too. Consider #ChallahFromHome-er Jenny Martin, who moved from Milwaukee to Phoenix eight years ago.
“I was scrolling through FB and noticed so many of my friends posting pics of their challahs, more than ever before,” said Martin in a message. “It’s been really fun to participate.”
The idea for #ChallahFromHome came from Shamah, Jewish family specialist at the Harry & Rose Samson Family Jewish Community Center, and her friend and co-worker, Toni Davison Levenberg, the director of the Steve & Shari Sadek Family Camp Interlaken JCC.
After the Harry & Rose Samson Family Jewish Community Center closed to visitors due to the pandemic, and Shamah could no longer run her monthly pub- lic challah braiding there, she ran it as a Facebook Live. There was more interest than usual, and the duo got to thinking. They came up with #ChallahFromHome on March 26 and posted it Friday, March 27. They said the hashtag had only been used in one post that they could find from years ago, on Twitter.
Shamah was “surprised by how quickly challah took over our newsfeed.”
Challah is uniting and comforting, she said. People have been posting rainbow challah, chocolate challah, kid-produced challah and shabbat candles with challah. “It’s really beautiful that the act of making challah is inspiring people to do other ritualistic things,” Davison Levenberg said.
People online have been trading recipes and talking yeast, or the finding of it.
“I saw someone post that, ‘all these pics of challot are inspiring me,’” Shamah said.
“The idea that challah is inspiring others is I guess something that we knew in our hearts would happen,” Shamah said.
But still, it’s wonderful to see: “It gives us hope.”