Challah for Hunger

"International Order of Challah Makers: For challah bakers, challah lovers, and everyone who knows what bread makes the very best french toast!" from

[I’m very excited to be writing this post!]

Over a year ago, I stumbled upon Challah for Hunger (CfH) somewhere online.  CfH is a non-profit with a straightforward mission: “Challah for Hunger raises awareness of and money for hunger and disaster relief through the production and sale of challah bread.”  I thought this program would be a perfect fit for OWU Hillel.  Afterall, some of our best times have been had in the kitchen.  With our Hamantashen for Haiti effort last year, we married that experience with social action and found that cooking can be used as the basis for tzedakah (charity).

This fall, I received an email from a young Jewish woman, Caryn, who is spending a few years in Delaware as an intern with the Public Health Department through the Center for Disease Control (CDC).  Caryn asked about the kinds of activities available through OWU Hillel and mentioned that she founded a chapter of CfH at UCLA while she was a student.  I could not believe our good fortune!  Since September, Caryn has been a supportive ally in our efforts to start a chapter of Challah for Hunger at OWU – attending meetings, sharing recipes and information, and connecting us with the national network and resources.

CfH was started in 2004 at Scripps College in California.  It was the vision of a single student who loved to bake and wanted to put her talent to work helping those in need.  Since 2004, Challah for Hunger has spread to nearly 40 campuses worldwide and has raised close to $200,000.  Each CfH chapter agrees to send 50% of it’s proceeds to American Jewish World Service for their Darfur Action Campaign.  The other half goes to an organization of the chapter members’ choosing – some local, some national, and others international.  When folks come to buy Challah, they are presented with information about these efforts and ways to get involved in voicing concern and support.  In the words of CfH founder Eli Winkelman, “Our sales table is not just a bake sale, it is a learning opportunity” (WeJew interview, see link below.)

As Bill Clinton mentioned in his discussion of CfH in his book Giving, Challah for Hunger is an interfaith venture.  “I find this effort particularly touching and relevant because it was started by a Jewish student, and is funded by the sales of traditional Jewish bread for the benefit of poor Muslims whose plight has been ignored for too long by Muslim nations much closer to them” (cited @ CfH).  Likewise, we hope that students of all faiths and no faith will participate in this effort at OWU.

In fact, OWU Hillel President Caroline Miller and University Chaplain Jon Powers will be including Challah for Hunger in their response to President Obama’s call for campus-based interfaith action.  (See more about this in upcoming months and read about the Interfaith Youth Core in my previous post.)  We look forward to kneading, braiding, and baking bread with all of you.

CfH @ OWU will begin Spring 2011.  If you or your organization would like to volunteer, please let us know – Email Caroline ( or Jodi (  We’ll be running a trial baking session November 17th – Big shout out to Gene Castelli and the catering staff for their support and cooperation!  Free samples will be passed out around campus on Thursday, November 18th – cash donations welcome.

Learn more about Challah for Hunger all over the www including:

@ Challah for Hunger

@ Jewcy – An interview with CfH founder Eli Winkelman

WeJew – Interview with Winkelman, views of CfH in Action, and Bill Clinton on CfH

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