Parshat Noach!

8 years ago Leighest 0

By Gabrielle Sharbin

The Cteen Connection team is back!! After a very busy month filled with family, loads of food, friends, and laughter we come back from Tishrei with a slate wiped clean, and ready to take on the New Year!

This week we read Parshat Noach! I’m sure this is a story most of us are well versed in, but a wonderful Parshah to continue learning about nonetheless.

In this Parshah, the entire world is full of violence, atrocities, and unbelievable sin. This only true righteous man, walking the earth is Noach. In a world so fraught with immense wickedness, Noach is able to keep his priorities straight and evaluate what is truly important, and right in this world.

Due to his righteousness, Hashem instructs Noach to build a large wooden ark, or teivah. Hashem said that an enormous flood will wipe out all life on earth, but the ark will save Noah, his family and 2 animals from each species (one male, and one female). This ark will float upon the water, sheltering said beings.

The rain falls for 40 days and 40 nights, and in addition the water continues to churn for 150 more days, until it began to calm! (And we thought Sandy was bad…) Noach’s ark then lands on, Mount Ararat. From here, Noach sends out a raven and then a series of doves, in order to see the world is now inhabitable.

After 365 whole days, all the land is finally dried! Hashem then commands Noach to exit his ark, and re-populate the earth.

Noach builds an alter, and begins to offer sacrifices to G-d. Futhermore, Hashem promises that he will never destroy all of mankind again because of their sins. In order to solidify this testament to mankind Hashem sends a rainbow as a sign of his new covenant with man.

In addition, Hashem educates Noach on the sacredness of life. G-d says that murder is a capital offence, and even though man is permitted to eat meat, he is forbidden from eating the flesh or blood from the animal.

Noach plants a vineyard and becomes drunk on it’s produce. Two of Noach’s sons, Shem and Japheth, are blessed for covering up their father’s nakedness. His third son, Ham, however is punished for taking advantage of his father’s humiliation.

Noach’s decedents remain one single unified people, together they posses their own culture, language etc. This continues on for 10 generations, until they defy Hashem by creating a tower to display their importance, and symbolize their invincibility.

Hashem then confuses their languages as a punishment, and henceforth they all speak their own tongues, unable to understand each other. The people then abandon one another and disperse across the face of the earth. They are then split into 70 separate nations.

This Parshah concludes with the chronology of the 10 generations between Noach, and Avraham. In addition, Parshat Noach depicts Avraham’s journey from his birthplace, Ur Casdim, to Charan on his way to the land of Canaan.

To continue our Shabbat across the world series, this Shabbos we’re visiting our last stop’s neighbor. Yep, you guessed it France! The following recipe, Babka rolls with olive tapenade, or Babka á la Française in French is a delish dish indigenous to the French Jews!

Shabbat Shalom, everyone and I hope you’ll enjoy trying out this very tasty recipe very soon!

Adapted from Joan Nathan’s Quiches, Kugels, and Couscous: My Search for Jewish Cooking in France.

Yield: 24 babka rolls

• 2 ½ to 3 cups all-purpose flour 
 • 1/8 teaspoon salt 
 • ¼ cup sugar 
 • 2 ½ teaspoons active dry yeast 
 • ½ cup whole milk, at room temperature 
 • 1 large egg, plus 3 to 4 yolks (enough to make ½ cup egg and egg yolks total) 
 • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut in small pieces, plus 2 tablespoons melted butter 
 • 1 ¼ cups pitted black picholine olives 
 • 2 canned anchovies, drained 
 • 1 tablespoon fennel seeds, pulverized 
 • 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil

To make the dough, put two and a half cups of the flour, salt, and all but one tablespoon of the sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the dough-hook attachment.

Put the yeast and one tablespoon warm water and the reserved tablespoon of sugar in a small bowl, and stir just until the sugar and yeast have dissolved. With the mixer, using the dough hook on low speed, pour into the bowl the yeast mixture, the milk, and the egg and egg yolks. Knead the dough until it is smooth, shiny, and elastic, about 10 minutes, adding more flour as needed.

Add the pieces of butter a little at a time, until it is incorporated, then knead the dough on low speed for about five minutes, until it is silken and rich. Transfer it to a large, greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and allow it to rise for two hours. When the dough has risen, press it down, and put it in a plastic bag or wrap it in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for one to two hours or overnight.

To make the tapenade filling, put the olives, half the anchovies, the fennel seeds, and one tablespoon of the olive oil in the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Puree the mixture until it is smooth. Taste, and if you want, add more anchovies or salt, and another tablespoon of olive oil if the filling is not smooth enough.

When ready to assemble the babkas, grease two nine-inch round pans. Take the dough from the refrigerator and divide it in half. On a lightly floured surface, roll out one piece into a 16-by-12-inch rectangle.

Using a knife or an offset spatula, spread half of the olive-anchovy filling very thinly over the dough, leaving a half-inch border all around. Beginning with the long side, tuck in the ends and roll the dough up tightly. Cut the rolled up dough into twelve equal pieces, and place them, with one of the cut sides of each facing up, in one of the pans in one layer. Repeat with the remaining dough and filling in the other pan.

Allow the babkas to rise, covered with a towel, for two hours before brushing with the reserved two tablespoons melted butter.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until golden. Once the rolls are cool enough to handle, pull them apart gently into individual babkas.