On the first night of Chanukah, my family and I sat down to our traditional holiday dinner. With the smell of warm food being prepared, everyone anticipated the meal to come. Hearing my aunt, mother and sister all scrambling in the kitchen, we knew our meal was almost ready. I helped bring out the brisket, noodle koogle, potato latkes, applesauce and other Jewish dishes. As everyone settled around the dinner table, there was one item that was completely consumed within the first three minutes. This was not an item my mother typically made each night. In fact, she only attempted to bake it once a year. When it comes to the holidays in the Rosenberg house, no Chanukah meal is complete without my grandmother’s famous challah bread. Everyone, including myself, has been accustomed to tasting the challah each holiday season. As my family shoved the bread down their throats, I couldn’t help but laugh. At that moment, I remembered why Chanukah was my favorite holiday.
From pre-school throughout high school, the majority of my friends were Jewish. I would often go to their homes to eat Shabbat dinner and to celebrate high holidays. When I asked one friend how their family made challah, I received a strange face along with an awkward laugh as if I had offended her. She responded with saying her mother has never attempted to make challah, and that it has always come from the nearby Publix. Now embarrassed for asking, I of course complimented the bread as if it was my grandmother’s work. I thought that most challahs were homemade, and that each family had a tradition similar to mine. For the rest of the evening, I noticed how different her family’s rituals were when compared to my own. From that moment forward, I knew that my family’s tradition was distinctive and that homemade challah was a delicacy to have. Being raised by a large, Jewish family, food has always been a part of our culture. Our family meals seemed more complicated and chaotic when compared to others,...
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