To mark the end of Pesach and a return to ordinary bread after a week of only matzah (unleavened bread), SCoJeC hosted a bread-themed cultural exchange in partnership with Interfaith Glasgow’s Weekend Club. An event full of recipe swapping and baking demos, it was the perfect start to a three-part series aiming to build bridges between Jewish people in Scotland and Scotland’s new refugee community members.
Made possible by a grant from the Joint Distribution Committee’s Tikkun in Action fund, this series of events also aims to create opportunities for interfaith connections. The first event focused on the importance of bread in different cultures, and ways in which food can bring people together, providing an opportunity for participants to discuss different types of bread from their own cultures, exchange information about food they keep in the store cupboard, as well as featuring a bread-themed quiz.
Without doubt, the highlight was bread-baking demonstrations from both Jewish and refugee communities. Recipes and ingredients lists were sent out in advance to enable participants to bake along with the presenters.
Barb, Margalit, and Sharon demonstrated how to bake challah – from three different countries! Barb set the ball rolling from her temporary home in Italy, by demonstrating how to mix and knead the dough before leaving it to rise. Sharon – currently in Israel – then showed us how to shape three different styles of challah, and the demo finished with Margalit, in Scotland, showing the baked challah.
The second demonstration was presented by Djamila of Glasgow’s Soul Food Sisters, a team of migrant women who have created a vibrant, female-led collective based around food. She and two other Soul Food Sisters showed us how to bake Matlooh, a traditional Algerian bread, demonstrating how to mix the dough, test for consistency, and bake it directly on the stove until fluffy and ready to eat.
The event ended with an activity for children on using bread to create edible art, while participants shared their thoughts and reflections. One commented, "It was lovely seeing the different types of bread from different places, and I learned about how similar, in essence, the importance and attitudes towards bread are in different cultures."