Emory Report
October 27, 2008
Volume 61, Number 9



Emory Report homepage  

October 27
, 2008
Baking bread for social justice


When Emory College senior Leah Isquith heard from a friend at another school about a program that combines baking challah with support for refugees from Darfur, she jumped at the idea of bringing this program to Emory.

Instead of going it alone, Isquith turned to Emory Hillel for support and guidance. With Hillel’s help, she brought together a group of students committed to establishing Challah for Hunger at Emory and raising money to support refugees from Sudan.

A grassroots initiative with groups on many college campuses, Challah for Hunger has brought students together for a cause that is close to the hearts of Jews: ending a genocide. Emory’s Challah for Hunger profits go to the American Jewish World Service Sudan Relief and Advocacy Fund and the Atlanta Refugee and Resettlement Services of Atlanta (RRISA).

The students, with the help of Jewish Student Life Coordinator Mimi Hall, recruited volunteers to bake challah at the Hillel house and sell it on campus during Wonderful Wednesdays.

The traditional Jewish celebration bread is offered in cinnamon, chocolate chip and plain at $5 a loaf. “It’s a tried and true recipe,” says Isquith, “not too salty and not too sweet.”

When Challah for Hunger debuted on Sept. 10, the group sold 24 challot in less than 90 minutes.

“We’ve sold out every time,” says College sophomore Emily Wein at the most recent sale Oct. 22. “We hope to try to expand our facility so that we can sell even more.” The group has started to take reservations and plans to sell challot at alternating Wonderful Wednesday events.

Wein, who is passionate about challah baking and social justice — last semester she recruited a group from Emory to attend the Atlanta Rally for Darfur at the state Capitol — says getting involved with Challah for Hunger was a way to combine “something you knew how to do and expand it into something you can do to help.”

The goal is to keep the human rights struggle in Darfur fresh in people’s minds with each fresh-baked loaf. “Whenever someone buys challah we also ask them to sign a card that will be sent to our next president” urging action, Wein says.

Each Challah for Hunger chapter selects a local philanthropy to support with half of the proceeds. Isquith says one reason Emory chose RRISA, which has Episcopal affiliations, was to add an interreligious focus to the cross-cultural work.

The group hopes to raise more than $1,500 by May. Emory Hillel is accepting donations in support of the Challah for Hunger program after Oct. 31, says Director Michael Rabkin. For more information, call 404-712-9063 or visit www.emoryhillel.org/studentgroups/communityactivism.cfm.