Sharing traditions: Hillel hosts mandel bread baking class to donate to homeless

At the University of Rhode Island, students came to the Hillel Center to bake mandel bread to donate to a local homeless shelter, the McAuley House and Help the Homeless in Providence, Rhode Island.

The mandel bread baking was led by Raquel Klein, a third-year student studying human development and family studies with a minor in psychology and a student intern at the Hillel Center. According to Klein, the recipe was from her late Aunt Lisa, who passed away in January.

All of the students were split into two groups, who each had their own bowl. Ingredients were shared and they followed Klein’s instructions.

Klein said that the recipe calls for three eggs, one cup of sugar, one cup of vegetable oil, 3 ¼ cups of flour, two teaspoons of baking powder, two teaspoons of vanilla extract and a lot of chocolate chips.

She added that you start by mixing the eggs, sugar and vegetable oil together in a large bowl. Then, you mix in the flour, baking powder, vanilla and the chocolate chips. After combining all the ingredients, you split it into three loaves on a baking sheet and put in the oven for 30 minutes.

“I grew up making this bread with my aunt so it’s like a little tribute to her,” Klein said. “Also, it’s a way for Jewish and non-Jewish students to get together and bake,”

The students who came to bake bread all had connections with each other or loved baking in general, according to the attendees.

“I was looking forward to seeing my friends at Hillel and baking some bread,” Hagar Yosfan, a second-year student studying graphic design and marketing, said.

“I’m very bad at baking so I thought it would be a chance to improve my skills,” Dylan Weiner, a fourth-year student studying film and communications said that he wanted to come to the event because his great grandmother made the best mandel bread. According to him, he hasn’t baked it since he was little. He said his friend’s family made some a couple of weeks ago so the idea was fresh in his mind.

“When I heard about this event, I was like, this is something I have to be at,” Weiner said.

Maya Sirkis, a second-year student studying special education and psychology, said she was asked to co-run the event. She was super excited about it because it was a chance for leadership at Hillel and hanging out with her friends.

Ben Dubrovskiy, a first-year student studying business said he came to connect with the Jewish community.

When the bread finished baking, Klein divided the bread into 1 inch pieces, leaving enough for the homeless shelter and some for the students to try. According to all of the students, the bread was delicious.

At the end of the event, Klein received a text from her cousin wishing her good luck and thanked everyone who came.

“Thank you for honoring the memory of the amazing women in our family,” Klein read. “My mom, your grandma and my grandma with your event tonight. Good luck.”