In the basement of the Pasquerilla Spiritual Center, nine students gathered around overflowing bowls of challah bread dough, eager to braid and bake the traditional Jewish delicacy.
Led by Penn State student Erica Lisses, an intern at Peer Network Engagement Internship with Penn State Hillel, the event was meant to bring out uninvolved members of the Jewish community and to raise awareness for the American Jewish World Service’s Sudan Relief and Advocacy Fund.
Attendees of the event, which was held Thursday afternoon, were required to make the bread by rolling out three pieces of dough and braiding it. Egg yolk was then spread on the dough as a glaze.
Participant Matty Golub said making the bread was quite an experience.
“Whoa, this is awesome,” Golub (sophomore-civil engineering and international affairs) said. “I can’t tell you how awesome this is.”
Golub also described how cooked challah bread tasted — sweet, but not a sugary kind of sweetness.
“Good challah makes the best French toast in existence,” Golub added.
As part of her internship, Lisses (junior-mathematics) is trying to start a Challah for Hunger Chapter at Penn State. Challah for Hunger is a national non-profit organization that raises money for and awareness of hunger worldwide through the sale of challah bread, Lisses said.
And though Thursday’s bread making was only a practice run, Lisses said she plans to begin selling the bread soon.
“Hopefully in about two weeks we will begin selling downtown,” Lisses said. “The National Challah for Hunger network is looking to have the challah out and taking donations instead of ‘selling’ it.”
Lisses said half of the money raised from the sale of the bread will go towards the AJWS fund, while the other half will be donated to an organization of her choice.
Money towards the AJWS fund will help prevent sexual violence against women, health services and counseling, access to clean water and other relief efforts.