Clear As Mud

Chaya’s Bas-Mitzvah

There are so many things I want this post to be, so I’m going to try to fit it all in, and hopefully it works 🙂

I want to start off by saying what a big milestone this is for Chaya, me, and my husband. 

I have a wonderful and gorgeous (inside and out) seventeen-year-old daughter yet being that we adopted her after she turned twelve, we didn’t have the privilege of celebrating her Bas-Mitzvah as a family. Chaya is our first child (not the oldest) it makes for a unique family where the oldest isn’t the first and the first isn’t the oldest.

I remember it like it was yesterday, waiting in a parking a few blocks away from the adoption agency, waiting to get that phone call that would finally make us parents. That feeling is not something you can put into words. So now, twelve years later, looking at this sweet, funny, sensitive, complicated, human, takes me right back to that moment. Anyway, enough of the mushy stuff let’s get down to the deets of the actual party. 

About 6 months ago we asked Chaya if she had any ideas or thoughts on how she wanted to celebrate he Bas-Mitzvah. Of course, she had quite a lot of opinions 🙂 One thing she was very sure about was that she wanted it to be an event exclusively for women and girls.  After exploring different ideas and options, we landed on a Challah bake. I was supposed to do a community Challah Bake right when COVID-19 started and that, obviously, it didn’t happen, so it felt like the perfect opportunity to make Chaya’s special day also Bozeman’s first community Challah bake, which we called Chaya’s Challah bake.

I think it’s important that I address the realities of putting on a big event, especially when you live in a small town with no access to a caterer, where all the Challah bake prep, all the décor and room prep and all the food was on me. It is hard! The other very significant thing was that our family, my son was not (and still not :)) in a great space. We were at the end of a challenging summer; kids were home with camp being over and school still three weeks out. It didn’t allow me to prep and be organized in the way that I usually am. Which basically mean that all the prep for the Bas-Mitzvah basically took place the day of the celebration. It was a huge miracle! And I am so grateful for my family and amazing friend Chevee who flew into celebrate with us and basically helped make it happen in a big way. 

If a Challah bake is something you want to do, I’m going to share with you where I got some of the paraphernalia.  I will also share with you the actual schedule and flow of the event:

Aprons (mine were custom) and placemats – Shluchim services

Boxes I put all the ingredients in – brp box shop

Bowls/ wooden spoons/ measuring cups – websteraunt

Recipe card/ sticker on the box- local printer 

For food, I wanted to do something I have not done before so Chaya would feel special. I also wanted something that would be the perfect complement to a Challah bake, not a sit-down dinner, yet still yummy and fun. I landed on a charcuterie table (dairy version) I know charcuterie means meat, but I don’t know how else to describe :). So, I had this vision and I just had to figure out how to execute it. I ordered fancy cheeses from PrimeNosh who went above and beyond to get it here in time, though the original boxes of food didn’t show up. I, of course, browsed Pinterest to get ideas in how it’s done. I incorporated some yummy green salads and my favorite quinoa recipe from Between Carpools I’ll link it here, I has roasted veggies and feta cheese and it’s sooo good! Thank G-d it turned out beautifully and I was very happy with the results. 

As for the event itself, here is how it went down:

Guests arrive, gave about 15/20 min for people to settle in, find a place to sit.

I welcomed everyone and introduced Chaya who then gave her Bas-Mitzvah speech and did a fabulous job.

My mother said a few words

I then spoke a little bit about the beauty of Challah and got the Challa bake going.  I wanted to lead with the speeches right at the beginning while everyone could still focus 🙂 the rest of the evening was left for socializing and enjoying the Challah making process. 

We made the Challah dough together, it was a lot of fun, while we left the Challah dough to rise, we opened the food tables, and we ate, socialized, and partied for about a half hour. 

We then went back to the Challah and shaped it; I gave round pans as we are very close to Rosh Hashanah. 

Everyone went home with 2 nice sized Challahs to bake at home.  The aprons and placemats were take-home gifts as well. 

I asked everyone to send me pics of the finished product! It was so fun to get those images!

It was a beautiful memorable evening 

Thank you, Hashem! 


Noah has cooked in a variety of kitchens and has studied many different cuisines, but his favorite meals to prepare are the ones that make his guests smile. Be it Thai, Italian, Caribbean or Latin, there is always a fun surprise waiting for you at meal time. Noah welcomes special requests and guests in his kitchen! Just stop by and say hi.

Yocheved Sidof is a social entrepreneur, psycho-mystical depth work facilitator, writer, educator, speaker, and activist. After a decade as a filmmaker and photographer, she founded Lamplighters Yeshivah, a grassroots, internationally acclaimed, progressive Chassidic Montessori school. Yocheved builds communities with healing at the center. Most recently, she founded Ohm’ek, an intentional collective focusing on meditation, embodied mysticism, and micro-retreats.

A lifelong learner, she’s completed extensive training in adaptive leadership, therapeutic coaching, and systemic change. She is currently in a two-year intensive training with Thomas Hubl, studying psycho-somatic-mystical models of healing personal, collective, and ancestral trauma. She also writes, consults, works 1:1 with clients, facilitates group transformational work, and regularly teaches Jewish spiritual studies.

Yocheved sits on boards supporting innovations in mental health awareness and self-transformation. She has studied Jewish mysticism and meditation extensively, including with Rav Katz since 2018, completing Elevation Teacher Training and sitting on his advisory board for over a year.

Yocheved, her husband, and five children live in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. Come say “Hi!” if you’re in the neighborhood.