Sidura Ludwig’s new children’s book about baking challah shares a recipe for turbulent times

Sidura Ludwig
Sidura Ludwig, author of this month's PJ Library book about the timeless comfort of baking challah–especially now after Oct. 7–rose early on Friday June 14 to prepare three loaves for her family's Shabbat meals. (Ellin Bessner photo)

Rising, the new children’s book by award-winning Canadian author Sidura Ludwig, tells the story of a Jewish child and their mother preparing homemade challah bread for Shabbat. Ludwig wrote the story four years ago, during the pandemic lockdown, when she found solace in the weekly ritual of challah-making during those uncertain times.

Now, releasing in a post-Oct. 7 world, Ludwig realizes the activity can serve a similar purpose: baking challah by hand has become a touchstone of hope for many people dealing with grief, despair and anxiety about worldwide antisemitism.

An estimated 30,000 copies of Ludwig’s 40-page book, illustrated by Sophia Vincent Guy, are making their way this month into the homes of many young Jewish families, courtesy of the free PJ Library program. On today’s episode of The CJN Daily, host Ellin Bessner visited Ludwig in her home in Thornhill, Ont., to learn more and get personal about what challah means for each of them.

What we talked about:


The CJN Daily is written and hosted by Ellin Bessner (@ebessner on Twitter). Zachary Kauffman is the producer. Michael Fraiman is the executive producer. Our theme music is by Dov Beck-Levine.  We’re a member of The CJN Podcast Network. To subscribe to this podcast, please watch this video. Donate to The CJN and receive a charitable tax receipt by clicking here. Hear why The CJN is important to me.