• The Kibbutz Be'eri Kindergarten. Photo courtesy of the kibbutz
    The Kibbutz Be'eri Kindergarten. Photo courtesy of the kibbutz
  • Kindergarten Challah. Photo: Adi Shilon
    Kindergarten Challah. Photo: Adi Shilon
Recipe

Shabbat Challah for Kibbutz Be’eri’s Kindergarten

Their favorite dish: There are eight kindergartens in Kibbutz Be'eri - good, pleasant places. The best day is Friday, when they make shabbat challah

Kibbutz Be’eri is easy to fall in love with – the gardens, the view and the thoughtful cute corners. Like the “60th garden”, for example, which was established as a 60th birthday gift to the kibbutz and has a charming fish pond, hammocks to laze in, play areas and a playground, which the children adore. The whole kibbutz usually hangs out there together, just a few meters from the dining room. On the central lawn, not far away, stands a stage around which the residents of the kibbutz gather for holidays and performances. On October 6th, Be’eri celebrated its 77th birthday there. The members of the kibbutz came up one by one, shared what the kibbutz means to them and sang a song that connected to their story. It was a particularly magical evening, one in the spirit of the kibbutzim of old.

The children of Kibbutz Be’eri are easy to fall in love with. Those who value each moment spent in the animal corner, a favorite of the kibbutz. Where there is a cool outdoor space with a taboon, where events are held. The children in Be’eri play soccer on the field, have competitions in the gym and frolic in the pool. They know the magic of the nature around them and travel into it at every opportunity.

Kibbutz Be’eri has eight kindergartens. Well thought out and beautiful kindergartens, which are good and pleasant places for children to grow. The yards are full of discarded objects and old tractors, which the children repurpose for their imaginative play. In the morning the kibbutz is full of smiling kids, skipping towards the school. Fridays are especially exciting for them. Soft, pillowy challah dough awaits their tiny hands. So they make challah out of it and smear it with generous amounts of chocolate spread. Everyone knows that if you don’t have to lick the chocolate off your hands as you eat, then you didn’t do it right.

During the challah’s second rise, the children sit down to draw a “Shabbat Shalom” picture on a sheet of paper, which will accompany the serving of the challah. At the Shabbat celebration, everyone sings together, drinks a glass of grape juice and eats the challah with great relish, trying to save a bite or two for their parents. If you get the chance to smell the amazing aroma of the challah baking on Friday, you never forget it.

The people of Kibbutz Be’eri are easy to fall in love with. The term ‘salt of the earth’ was probably born to describe the members of this kibbutz, which was dealt an unbearably hard blow.

On October 7th, 90 members of the kibbutz were murdered and 28 were kidnapped. 11 of them were children.

Inbar Shadma Kidar lovingly told me about the kibbutz and all its charms. Kidar worked in the kindergartens as a caretaker and teacher for 12 years.

In the recipe below, I actually took Kindergarten Be’eri’s challah dough and combined it with the chocolate spread, to better capture the children’s bite. Of course, you can also bake challah without it and then spread whatever you want on it.

Ingredients for Shabbat Challah

  • 1 lb 5 oz (600 grams) flour
  • 1 tablespoon (10 grams) Dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup (50 grams) Sugar
  • 2 teaspoons (15 grams) Salt
  • 1/3 cup (80 grams) oil
  • 1 ⅓ cups (310 grams) water
  • 1 container chocolate spread

Instructions

  • 1. Mix all the dough ingredients in a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment for about fifteen minutes on low-medium speed, until the mixer bowl is clean and the dough is smooth and pleasant. Is the dough sticky and loose? Add some flour. Too dry? Add some water.

  • 2. In a warm place, set the dough aside to rise in a greased bowl, covered with plastic wrap for about an hour and a half until doubled in volume, or overnight in the refrigerator.

  • 3. Divide into six balls. Roll each ball into a thin rectangle, apply the spread of your choice leaving the edges clean. Roll and seal well.

  • 4. Plait two braids, place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, cover with a towel and let rise for another hour.

  • 5. Heat the oven to 350F (175C) degrees, brush with egg and bake for about 25 minutes until properly browned. In the kibbutz it is customary to brush the challah with simple syrup immediately after leaving the oven (ratio of water and sugar 1:1)

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This recipe is part of Adi Shilon’s “Their Favorite Dish” project, which tells the story of 60 abductees through the recreation of their favorite recipe for a pastry or dessert. For all the details and additional recipes in the project.

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