Summer Twist

Everyone was doing the twist—not the dance move, the dough move: baking challah! Summer challah twist parties are well under way. Every Thursday evening, dozens of people gather at LifeTown to bake challah for Shabbat. July 14 saw traditional loaves as well as some pull apart versions. The loaves turned shades of green and blue, purple and orange, and some even created rainbow challah, with each strand a different color July 21. This week, it was a chocolate lover’s dream, with choco-heaven challah baking. Double chocolate challah delight, anyone?

Valeria Shatashvili joined the fun on July 21. Shatashvili, a makeup artist, fled her home in Dnipro, Ukraine, with her husband, Erik, a dentist. After a four-month journey, they arrived in Livingston July 6, where they are staying with Lori and Doug Zucker, trying to start a new life.

“It was a very hard decision to leave everything we had in Ukraine and go to unknown place, but my husband and I decided that safety during my pregnancy [she is pregnant with their first child] is important,” she said through Google translate.

The challah bake marked her first community activity here, but not her first time baking challah.

“Baking challah is universal!” said Toba Grossbaum, chief operating officer of LifeTown. She and Erik are looking forward to participating in more community activities moving forward, but they won’t only be on the receiving end. “Terrible events are taking place in Ukraine now. We would like to help refugees coming from the east of Ukraine,” she said. “We are trying to help our country from a distance.”

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