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Elul-A Time of Reflection and Vegan Challah

Elul: days of reflection
Door Tori Egherman

Elul is here. The last month of the Jewish calendar, when we are supposed to be winding down, reflecting on the past year, and making amends. Instead, in our modern societies, we are ramping up. Vacation is over. Kids are going back to school. We have a zillion things to do.

Perhaps we can still take this time to go slow. After all, it’s not how fast you go, but how fast you go slow.

Oy Vey has some events planned to help you mark this time of year. For the Holy Day Season, we have events for Erev Rosh Hashana, Havdalah, and a Lulav-making workshop for Sukkot.

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From Our Members

Yonathan Listik just published the article Barbaric Jewishness: Resistance to anti-Semitism and Judeo-Christianity, which explores concepts of Jewishness that challenge hegemony.

Tori Egherman and Jelle Zijstra speak about Het Joods Manifest, The Jewish Manifesto for Tachles, translated into English for the Washtenaw Jewish News (page 6).

The Oy Vey Recipe

Vegan Challah!

Yes, there is a Gd…or at least there is a vegan challah so good you can’t tell the difference (except for the shine that the egg wash makes).

This recipe is based on the one by Sarah McMinn at My Darling Vegan. The “I” is Tori.


2.5 tsp active dry yeast

66.67 g sugar (I use even more sugar because I am my grandmother’s grandchild – and at Rosh Hashana, many people bake sweet challah for a sweet year)

250 ml water

120 g chickpea flour + ½ cup water

54 ml olive oil

1.5 tsp salt

375 g all-purpose flour

Variations: As much zaatar OR cinnamon and cardamom as you want to use depending on whether you want to add a little pizzazz to your challah.


I make this all by hand with a rubber spatula, a wooden spoon, and one of those great egg beaters or milk foamers.

  • Begin by activating the yeast. Put it in a huge bowl and then whisk the yeast with 2 teaspoons sugar and 1 cup lukewarm water – NOT TOO HOT!!. Set aside for 5-10 minutes to allow the yeast to activate and sugar to dissolve.
  • This part is really fun. Put the chickpea flour along with ½ cup water into a separate bowl or pitcher and then whisk it until it is thick and foamy. This is your egg replacement.
  • Slowly add the oil and chickpea egg into the big bowl with the activated yeast.
  • Add the remaining ¼ cup of sugar and salt. Whisk together.
  • Gradually add the flour, one cup at a time. Be patient and gentle with the spatula.Eventually the dough will form. Once it’s ready (no longer too sticky) knead it for 5 minutes with the wooden spoon or your hands. The dough should get smoother and smoother. It should be soft, but not sticky. Lievnath is a master at this. If you have questions, ask her.
  • Put a bit of oil in another big bowl or pan. Then move the dough into that oiled bowl.
  • Cover it with a damp cloth (who knows why? I just learned this from my grandmother). Put the bowl in a warm place. In the winter, I put it in the oven with the light on. The dough should double in size in about one hour.

After it doubles, you get to punch it! That’s so fun. Punch the dough down, cover it, and let it rise for 30 more minutes.

Here comes the braiding!!

You need a clean, floured surface for this part.

  • Put the dough on the prepared surface.
  • Divide the dough in half. And then divide those halves into 3 equal pieces. Roll those out. Braid together. You now have 2 challahs.

For the savory or sweet variations:

ZATAR: Flatten the equal pieces and shake zaatar on top. Now roll each piece together like a tube so that the zatar is inside.

CINNAMON: Pour a lot more cinnamon than you think you should use onto the flattened strands, add sugar, and cardamom seeds if you want them as well. Make your tubes so that most of the cinnamon mixture is inside and braid.

So, no egg wash for the top. Sometimes I brush a mixture of date syrup and warm water on top, sometimes olive oil, sometimes maple or agave syrup. Sprinkle with sesame seeds if you’d like. Good luck! Let it sit for 30 minutes before putting the loaves in the oven.


Preheat the oven to 175 degrees C. Bake 30-35 minutes, until the top is golden and there is a nice crispy crust.

Let cool completely if you can resist…

We want to hear from you!

If you have a recipe to share, an event to highlight, or something you’d like the Oy Vey community to know about, please send us an email! It’s easy! Send an email to Tori at