Thank you to everyone who joined the first-ever ZOOM Challah Workshop earlier this week and contributed to its success! As mentioned, we have recorded the Challah Workshop and are pleased to provide the link to the video here.
Also as requested, the link to Susan’s downloadable vegetarian cookbook Dining in the Garden of Eden is here. Susan’s blog now has a new recipe for basil-oil as well as some interesting non-cooking observations.
Susan’s recipe, her notes on the halacha on challah, her written responses to questions that were not addressed due to lack of time, and pictures of baked products of Susan and of some class participants are available at https://drive.google.com/drive/u/0/folders/1rx78QJF6oowh3G9OdOSmnDglRL7ktw4Y.
Infuse your Shabbat with an extra dimension of spirituality through home-baked challah. Longtime JSC Teacher Susan Finston last taught her Challah class in the weeks leading up to her Aliyah in Fall of 2018. Now through the magic of Zoom, Susan returns for an international JSC Challah Baking workshop with tips on braiding and baking challah. This class shares insights on everything from the halacha (ritual laws) of challah to how to braid your Challah at home. Susan also provided handouts about the Halacha (Jewish law) on Challah and a recipe that she will be demonstrating.
Now based in Old Katamon, Jerusalem, Susan Finston has baked or brought her challah to varied destinations including Ahmedabad, Beijing, Bhutan and Manila. She is the author of Dining in the Garden of Eden, an international vegetarian cookbook available for download.
The cookbook has its roots in Ann Arbor, Michigan, as does. Susan. She began cooking in earnest as a graduate student at the University of Michigan, where her fondest memories are of dinners and Sunday brunches spent with in the kitchen and around the table with friends. The kitchen became both a haven after disappointments and the best place to celebrate the successes of daily life. Some of the recipes in Dining in the Garden of Eden are updated versions of classic American foods that Susan has been cooking for over thirty years.
After graduation, Susan left the warmth and comfort of Ann Arbor to explore the wider world. While serving as a Foreign Service Officer for the Department of State in Washington DC and at Embassies overseas, she adapted recipes from friends and colleagues encountered in different cultures in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and Asia. She also worked in the international division of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA). Since 2005 she has been working as an independent consultant for bio-pharmaceutical and other innovative companies, as well as universities and NGOs on a variety of trade policy and doing business issues relating to the enabling environment for assimilation of new technologies for creation of social and economic benefit.
Why is the cookbook called Dining in the Garden of Eden? According to tradition, at the time of Creation Adam and Eve were brought into life in a paradise known as the Garden of Eden. They were stewards of nature, caretakers of all the animals in this paradise. They ate from the fruits of plants and trees as vegetarians, and there was no fear in the world. It wasn’t until later after the expulsion from Eden, that they began to eat meat, and animals began to live in fear of human domination. There is a corresponding theory that by returning to vegetarianism, even just part of the time, we may help to repair the world and to bring harmony to our environment.