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How did challah become the favorite Jewish bread? It goes back to the medieval times, when in South Germany (15th century), Jews started to adopt from their neighbors this type of bread for the Sabbath and holidays.

Rabbi Jonah Pesner would argue that ultimately Shabbat is a call to action, read why. 

Shabbat dinner parties are a great way for friends and family to connect, have fun, and engage in rewarding conversation – and for American Jews, the Thanksgiving weekend – when far-flung loved ones return home together for the secular holiday – can provide a perfect opportunity to make it happen.

What is Shabbat? Intro to the Jewish Sabbath

What is Shabbat? Shabbat (the Jewish Shabbath) is a weekly 25-hour observance that begins just before sundown each Friday and ends at nightfall on Saturday. Shabbat is a dedicated time each week to stop working and focus more on the pleasures of life.

It's definitely not easy, especially in a time when we are always working from running errands to checking emails, it seems to never stop. Shabbat is a time to recharge. Watch this video to learn more about why and how Jews observe Shabbat.


For many people, Shabbat is a distinctive day throughout every season of the year. During the summer, it can be an extra special time – and here are seven things you can do for rest, reflection, and fun.

Learn about the customs of the Shabbat table, and the meanings behind them.

Macaron Reynado de Karne (Macaroni and Meat Bake)

Stella Cohen

This appetizing Sephardic version of the Greek meat bake pastitsio, is baked in an earthenware ovenproof dish and brought straight to the table. This dish, known as macaron reynado de karne, makes an excellent meal eaten hot or at room temperature for brunches, mezes, picnics and children’s packed lunches. This bake is delicious with a tasty homemade tomato sauce and a green salad. 

3 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for brushing
6 spring onions (scallions), finely sliced
500g (1 pound) minced (ground) beef or veal
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon finely ground white pepper
1½ cups hot chicken stock
½ cup chopped canned tomatoes
2 tablespoons roughly chopped flat-leaf parsley (use leaves and tender stems)
1 tablespoon roughly chopped fresh dill
500g (1lb 2oz) macaroni, tubular pasta or pasta shells
9 eggs, well beaten
  • Brush a 35x25cm (14x10in) and 6.25cm (2½in) deep earthenware ovenproof dish lightly with olive oil.
  • Heat the oil in a large, heavy-based pan over a medium-high heat. Add the spring onions and cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently, until softened. Add the meat and salt and pepper and stir for 5 minutes. Crushing the meat with a fork, stir until it changes to a light brown colour.
  • Add 1 cup hot chicken stock and the tomatoes. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, until the sauce has reduced but is still moist. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Toss in the parsley and dill and transfer to a large bowl.
  • Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and stir frequently as the water returns to a boil. Cook the pasta according to packet instruction until just tender but retaining some bite. Drain well.
  • Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F) and heat the oiled dish in the oven for 5 minutes.
  • Add the pasta to the meat mixture and pour in the beaten eggs. Mix well.
  • Remove the heated dish from the oven and immediately pour the mixture into it, evenly distributing the meat and pasta. Smooth the surface with the back of a spoon. Bake in the centre of the oven for 30 minutes or until the top is crusty and golden. Switch off the oven. Pour the remaining ½ cup of hot chicken stock over the baked pasta and return to the still warm oven until the stock has been absorbed.
  • Cut into squares and serve hot or at room temperature.

Reprinted with permission from Stella’s Sephardic Table: Jewish family recipes from the Mediterranean island of Rhodes © 2012 by Stella Cohen, The Gerald & Marc Hoberman Collection. Photography by Marc Hoberman.

Sephardic cuisine expert, artist, textile designer, and cookery writer, Stella Cohen is a passionate ambassador for the Jewish community, dedicating her life to the celebration, preservation, and education of Sephardic values and traditions. Stella’s heart lies in Southern Africa as well as in the Mediterranean, as she was born and raised in Zimbabwe and has a family tree entrenched in Sephardic history. Her parents originate from Rhodes, Greece, and Marmaris, Turkey and she is the great-granddaughter of Yaacov Capouya, the Rabbi of Rhodes.

Shabbat, the Jewish Sabbath, is a weekly holiday that celebrates creation and offers a respite from the hectic pace of the rest of the week. 

Music is what makes Shabbat special for countless people the world over. After a good Shabbat meal, many people sing songs at their table. Others sing at synagogue. Lots of people do both

Shabbat is the Jewish holiday that comes each week. Its roots lie in the biblical story of creation when, in order to complete the work of creating the world, God rested on the seventh day


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