Shabbat Candle Club

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Shabbat Torah Portions

October 2021

Friday, October 1, 2021
Tishrei 25, 5782
Shabbat, Torah Reading: Bereishit

Friday, October 8, 2021
Cheshvan 2, 5782
Shabbat, Torah Reading: Noach

Friday, October 15, 2021
Shabbat, Torah Reading: Lech-Lecha
Cheshvan 9, 5782

Friday, October 22, 2021
Cheshvan 16, 5782
Shabbat, Torah Reading: Vayeira

Friday, October 29, 2021
Cheshvan 23, 5782
Shabbat, Torah Reading: Chayei Sarah

November

Friday, November 5, 2021
Kislev 1, 5782
Shabbat, Torah Reading: Toldot

Friday, November 12, 2021
Shabbat, Torah Reading: Vayeitzei
Kislev 8, 5782

Friday, November 19, 2021
Kislev 15, 5782
Shabbat, Torah Reading: Vayishlach

Friday, November 26, 2021
Kislev 22, 5782
Shabbat, Torah Reading: Vayeishev

December

Friday, December 3, 2021
Kislev 29, 5782
Shabbat, Torah Reading: Mikeitz

Friday, December 10, 2021
Tevet 6, 5782
Shabbat, Torah Reading: Vayigash

Friday, December 17, 2021
Tevet 13, 5782
Shabbat, Torah Reading: Vayechi

Friday, December 24, 2021
Tevet 20, 5782
Shabbat, Torah Reading: Shemot

Friday, December 31, 2021
Tevet 27, 5782
Shabbat, Torah Reading: Va’eira

My Challah Making Adventure

My challah baking adventure began in March – right around the time that everything shut down. No more Friday night services, no more B’nai Mitzvahs to attend, no more ‘pasta nights’ with friends, no more work (as I, along with millions of others, was furloughed). The kids were home all the time, as was my husband. There seemed to be nothing to differentiate the days of the week – every day began to blend into the other. This is where the challah baking comes in. I had never baked challah before, but after curbside pick-up of yeast (SAF Red Instant) and bread flour I was ready to begin. I realized that challah baking gave me a way to mark the end of the week. Using my sturdy mixing bowl and my hands, I added, mixed, kneaded, adjusted, and baked with a strong intent – putting love, calm, hopes and wishes into the process. Creating loaves of challah with care for my family felt like a way to ground and put meaning to my week by starting the ritual of welcoming in Shabbat. For many weeks during this pandemic I have baked, and then my family and I have engaged in the traditions of Shabbat – lighting candles, blessing the wine and challah and taking a moment to close out the week, to rest and reflect, and return to our best selves as we prepare for the week to come. 

The following recipe is one I have adapted from Joan Nathan’s New York Times “My Favorite Challah”. This recipe takes about 3 ½ – 4 hours and make 2 large loaves

INGREDIENTS
1 ½ packages active dry yeast (about 3 1/2 teaspoons)
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 cup honey
½ cup vegetable oil, more for greasing bowl
5 large eggs
1 tablespoon salt
8 to 8 ½ cups flour – 4 cups all-purpose flour/4 cups bread flour

PREPARATION
In a large bowl, dissolve yeast and 1 tablespoon sugar in 1 3/4 cups lukewarm water. Whisk oil into yeast, then beat in 4 eggs, one at a time, with honey and salt. Gradually add flour – alternating between all-purpose and bread flour. When dough holds together, it is ready for kneading. 

Turn dough onto a floured surface and knead until smooth (About 7-9 minutes). Clean out bowl and grease it, then return dough to bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, and let rise in a warm place for 1 hour, until almost doubled in size. (I put mine in an oven that has been warmed to 150 degrees then turned off.) Punch down dough, cover and let rise again in a warm place for another half-hour.

To make a 3-braid challah, take half the dough and form it into 3 balls. With your hands, roll each ball into a strand about 12 inches long and 1 1/2 inches wide. Place the 3 in a row, parallel to one another. Pinch the tops of the strands together. Move the outside right strand over the middle strand. Take the outside left strand and move it over the middle strand. Continue this until all strands are braided. Tuck ends underneath. Make a second loaf the same way. Place braided loaves on a greased cookie sheet with at least 2 inches in between.

Beat remaining egg and brush it on loaves. Either freeze breads or let rise another hour. If baking immediately, preheat oven to 375 degrees and brush loaves again. If freezing, remove from freezer 5 hours before baking. Bake in middle of oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until golden. Cool loaves on a rack.

Our Story

In the midst of a global pandemic, as we sat at home on Friday nights (and all nights actually) we missed the joy and community we felt in our old regular days. We wanted to find a way to bring a feeling of peace, calm, and reflection to people in a time where so many of us were feeling isolated and alone. With some extra time on our hands and the desire to stay focused on something positive, we formed Shabbat Candle Club to send strength, healing, beauty, celebration, connection and light into our community and the world. 

The inspiration for Shabbat Candle Club actually came about in March of 2019. Aaron Atwell married Karli and was inspired by her deep commitment to Judaism. After his daughters’ Bat Mitzvahs Aaron was compelled to travel his own Jewish journey. As a 50 year-old, Aaron chose to be called to the Torah to become Bar Mitzvah with 15 others in an adult B’nai Mitzvah. Vayakhel was the Torah portion for that week which included instructions to bring gifts to the Temple made of gold, silver, and copper; blue, purple, and crimson yarns, fine linen, and acacia wood. Aaron made yaads (ceremonial sticks used to follow along while reading from the Torah) from a fallen blaze maple tree in his yard to give as gifts to his cohorts and decorated the yaads accordingly with many beautiful colors. 

As non-Jewish, long time friends, Kyle and Mara wanted to give Aaron a meaningful gift to recognize his Bar Mitzvah that incorporated these special colors as well as recognizing Aaron’s calling to join the Jewish faith. This is where the Shabbat Candle Club was born. Kyle created and gave Aaron the first three-month Shabbat Candle Club subscription with candles in crimson and blue with a golden flame, the specific Torah readings for each Shabbat, candle lighting times and a personalized letter. On the inside of the box they included the hand made sealed “A” that you will still find inside our boxes today- as a nod to the past, the origin of the Shabbat Candle Club, and the lasting strength of life-long, interfaith friendships.

Founders: Mara & Kyle Kuczun (left), and Aaron & Karli (right)

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