One week when I was living in Dublin I went to a party in a professor’s apartment on a Friday night. It was a potluck, so I made challah and brought it. The (non-Jewish) professor saw the challah and said, “Oh hey, I found a knife in the kitchen [he was subletting another professor’s apartment] that I think might have Hebrew on it.” So he brings out this bread knife and it says Likhvod Shabbat [To Honor Shabbat] on it in Hebrew. And even though I might have been the only Jew there, we all said
together, and I sliced the challah with the knife.
That’s my favorite challah-themed anecdote. Another favorite is how my family made our own patchwork challah cover. Using scraps of fabric left over from Purim costumes, old t-shirts, and an heirloom blanket that had some unfortunate holes due to moths, my mom sewed together a mini-patchwork quilt. In the middle she painted the word Shabbat with fabric paint and voila–a challah cover with family history. In fact, that challah cover became so popular that we demanded she make another one so we’d be able to share them when we grew up and wanted to take them with us. We made those covers in 1994 and I still use mine all the time.
Pronounced: KHAH-luh, Origin: Hebrew, ceremonial bread eaten on Shabbat and Jewish holidays.
Pronounced: shuh-BAHT or shah-BAHT, Origin: Hebrew, the Sabbath, from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday.