Making Artisanal Challah for Rosh Hashana


I received a nice call from Rabbi Eytan Hammerman of Temple Beth Shalom of Mahopac the other day, who told me about member of his congregation with an exceptional talent, challah-baker Marilyn Arsham of Mahopac, who would be leading a baking class at the synagogue. It’s a very food-friendly temple, that! They also host a farmers market in the parking lot each Sunday. We couldn’t get there for the baking session, but Rabbi Hammerman sent along these photos.

He writes:

With the Jewish New Year beginning the evening of September 4, members of Temple Beth Shalom of Mahopac prepared for the festival by baking round challah bread, a food traditionally eaten on the holiday.

Children and adults shaped their own challah under the watchful eye of expert challah-baker Marilyn Arsham of Mahopac. Round challah bread is traditionally eaten on Rosh Hashanah to mark the cyclical nature of the calendar.

A traditional Rosh Hashanah greeting is for a “sweet” year. For this reason, honey is customarily eaten on the festival, often with apples.

Temple Beth Shalom, which is home to the Putnam Sunday Farmers Market, offered local wildflower honey from one of the market vendors, an apiary (bee farm) in Hopewell Junction.

The Jewish year 5774 begins at sunset on September 4th. The major High Holyday period concludes with Yom Kippur on September 13/14. Temple Beth Shalom is at 760 Route 6 in Mahopac,

Here, Karen Shields, Monika and Rebekah Lazar, and Aubrianna McDermott of Mahopac:


And Jake Lomas and Ezra Bromberg, of Putnam Valley:


Happy New Year!


About Author

Liz Johnson is content strategist for The Journal News and, and the founding editor of lohudfood, formerly know as Small Bites. As food editor, she won awards from the New York News Publishers Association, the Association of Food Journalists and the Associated Press. She lives in Nyack with her husband and daughter on a tiny suburban lot they call their farm — with fruit trees, an herb garden, and a yardful of lettuce, tomatoes, onions, shallots, cucumbers, zucchini, radishes, cabbage, peppers, Brussels sprouts and carrots and four big blueberry bushes.

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