Early on many Friday mornings at NewBridge on the Charles, resident Roz Holt can be found in the lobby waiting for her daughter, Judy Klein, to arrive from her home in Canton so they can start their rounds of special deliveries to friends and neighbors throughout the campus. When Judy’s small van pulls up, she begins to carry in her loaves of homemade challah, still warm and fragrant from the oven. Challah, a loaf of yeast-risen egg bread, is a traditional Shabbat dinner food and often a centerpiece of many a holiday or ceremonial occasion in Jewish life.
As they sort out the deliveries together, the smells of Judy’s special challah breads come wafting through the lobby – cinnamon, apple, pumpkin and other spices mingle in the air – and Roz and Judy talk about how their relationship, like the challah bread they deliver, is braided together with love and support.
This isn’t a typical story of how Roz taught Judy to bake challah or even cook for that matter. Roz was always a working mother, so when her daughters Judy and Karen asked to cook dinner, she very wisely gave them a budget and let them experiment. Judy grew bored with cakes when she was 12 and moved onto making challah bread, mastering the intricate braiding the bread requires along the way. When Judy needed to raise funds as a teenager for her post high school trip to Israel, Roz suggested she start baking and selling her challah. She developed several different varieties, made enough to cover her share of the trip and knew she was on to a recipe that people really loved.
Through word of mouth amongst Roz’s extensive network of friends at NewBridge, rave reviews for Judy’s challah bread spread. Today she has a small group of customers that include many NewBridge residents who eagerly await their Friday morning deliveries from this dynamic mother-daughter duo. As they prepare for their Sabbath that evening, they know that Judy’s challah on their table connects them to centuries of tradition and will be a joy to eat as well. Judy’s orders often also include her pastries, including traditional Jewish rugelach and chocolate babka cake, which are also great favorites.
Judy, a pediatric nurse at Children’s Hospital for almost thirty years, also still finds time to cook like a gourmet for her extended family and friends. “She’s always trying something new and inviting family over for a new dish,” said Roz “and her breads and pastries are a very special part of our celebrations.” Judy’s sisters and brothers also share her passion for good food and entertaining.
It’s obvious Roz and Judy share the same level of energy and warmth that attracts their family and friends to their circle of love and nourishment. On Mother’s Day we celebrate the special lifetime bonds between mothers and their children, and offer our appreciation for what they have taught us and for what they understood was best we learned on our own. Roz Holt and Judy Klein share a zest for the delicious things in life and make it a point to share them with each other and their family often.
Try a recipe from Judy’s kitchen!
Overnight Challah French Toast
- 1 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/2 cup butter
- 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
- 12 slices day old (or older) Challah bread
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, divided
- 6 eggs
- 1 1/2 cups milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- In a small saucepan, bring the brown sugar, butter and corn syrup to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Remove from the heat. Pour into a greased 13-in. x 9-in. x 2-in. baking dish. Top with six slices of bread. Combine sugar and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon; sprinkle half over the bread. Place remaining bread on top. Sprinkle with remaining cinnamon-sugar; set aside.
- In a large bowl, beat the eggs, milk, vanilla and remaining cinnamon. Pour over bread. Cover and refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight.
- Remove from the refrigerator 30 minutes before baking. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees F for 30-35 minutes.