The sun is setting and that ushers in the 10 day Jewish High Holy Days. Tonight is Rosh Hashana. The Jewish New Year. Traditionally the holidays are begun with the blowing of a ram's horn - a shofar.
One of the casualties of Hurricane Ike is Three Brothers' Bakery, a renowned Houston bakery owned and operated by a now 5th generation of Jewish bakers. There will be no challah this year for the loyal patrons. The bakery suffered much damage from the storm and is currently closed for repairs. Challah, the traditional round bread - the shape to represent the circle of life - is made with or without raisins. The recipe used at Three Brothers' is 200 years old. It has been passed down through the generations. The table the soft, yellow bread on which was made was ruined. The butcher block table will have to be replaced.
Our son attended a private Jewish school for two summer's worth of classes during his high school years. I passed the bakery each way every day as I drove him back and forth. I was sad to read of the bakery's damage this morning.
The Houston Chronicle reports today that local Jewish families have to go to other sources for their challah. Whether it is local delis or other bakeries, the output will take up the slack.
Challah will be needed for Yom Kippur, the end of the High Holy Days, too. Enjoying a particular bakery's challah may seem a silly concern, but the bread is a part of the Jewish tradition of celebration and with tradition comes comfort. After feeling the effects of Hurricane Ike, many in our area still without power, it's the same comforts that can make a big difference.
Happy Rosh Hashana.