Making bread and breaking bread together

Chana Deren, second from left, with other girls at the Challah Bake

Jewish girls in Cape Town get together to bake Challah

Preparing a young person for adult life encompasses a range of learnings, and an important one is to provide guidance on career choice.  In fulfilling its responsibility as an international high school, Cape Town Torah High has developed a unique programme geared to expose learners to career opportunities within the local Jewish community.

According to Daniella Conibear, General Studies Principal at the school, “We find that our learners are eager to learn  about the range of community organisations in Cape Town. We hope that through this programme our students have the opportunity to see community organisations as opportunities for employment, volunteering or philanthropy in the future. It’s quite an eye-opener when they learn about the possibilities.”

The school initiated the Litrom be-yachad programme in 2019, and it runs throughout the three years of the high school period. It’s a graduation requirement that all learners have to complete. “The programme involves a number of elements,” Daniella explains. “Each learner has to spend a few days doing a work shadow exercise with one of the community organisations. Through this, the young person learns about what the organisation’s focus is, and meets and works alongside people who have chosen to follow their particular career in the organisation. The end result is that they learn that, just as in the private sector, there are career opportunities in tech, HR, marketing and communications, management, accounting, and so on. But they also see that there are additional career opportunities, such as in security, fund-raising, kashrut, archival work, librarianship, and many others.”

One Grade 12 learner, Chana Deren, responded with great enthusiasm to the programme. She explains: “I decided to job shadow different members of the UJC to learn what it really takes behind the scenes to run and oversee an entire Jewish community. I came out of it knowing a lot more about the work that the UJC does, and how we as youth are needed for building our future here.”

In fulfilling the other requirements of the Litrom be-yachad programme, Chana organised a Challah Bake event, with the aim, she explains, of “uniting Jewish high school girls in Cape Town, from different high schools and backgrounds. Hours after hours of preparation, from fundraising to shopping, marketing, to decor arranging, reaching out to girls, to budgeting – and everything in between – resulted in a most beautiful, warm night where Jewish high school girls from St Cyprian’s, Herzlia, CTTH, Reddam House, Camps Bay High School, and homeschoolers all had the chance to come together and bond through the special Mitzvah of Challah. 

These comments from girls who took part in the Challah Bake reflect the success of the initiative:

Rebecca Widan, Reddam House:
“I loved this Challah Bake to meet and connect with all Jewish girls who are similar ages to me, especially coming from a non-Jewish school.”

Layla Chiat, Herzlia: “I don’t often take the time once a week to bake challah for Shabbat but this event pushed me out of my comfort zone and made me realise how relaxing and meaningful making challah truly is!” 

Tali Zolty, CTTH: “Chana Deren’s idea to join Jewish teen girls, from all over Cape Town, together in one room for a special Challah Bake, was absolutely phenomenal. It was incredible to see friends from other schools whom I haven’t seen in so long, and also to get the opportunity to know them more!”

Photography: Emma-Kate Levin

• Published in the October 2023 issue – Click here to start reading.

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