After Times Herald Record editor Barry Lewis wrote an editorial about how much he missed rugalach after the upstate seasonal kosher bakeries closed, Chabad of Orange County’s Rabbi Pesach and Chana Burston decided that hosting a Kosher Rugalach Workshop would be a good idea. So did Lewis.
Chabad had previously hosted a kosher pickle making workshop, as well as Challah braiding, hamantashen shaping, Passover Matzah baking and more. Chabad, as part of its Jewish educational outreach activities, hosts creative hands-on workshops related to Jewish life and living in the community.
On Saturday Night, January 10, people from all over the area participated in the workshop.
Rugalach have always been popular in kosher bakeries, Burston explained, and has recently been making a comeback in pop-culture, with the opening of hip Rugalach Cafes in New York City.
Rugalach is a Jewish traditional twisty tasty pastry with a range of fillings. Its Yiddish name means “little twists” because of how the treat is made by twisting the corners or rolling them.
Alternatively, some assert that the root is ‘rugel,’ meaning royal, possibly a reference to the taste, Burston explained. Either way, “Rugalach have been given the ‘royal treatment’ for a long time,” Burston joked.
Rugalach are not exclusive to any holiday in particular, but can be seen at almost every Jewish occasion.
“There is a spiritual twist – pun intended – to rugalach as well,” Burston added while explaining the significance of food in Judaism. He shared an insight from Rabbi Israel Rubin, Chabad’s Regional Director: “It takes lot of unraveling until you get to the inner self, but there is sweetness on every level!”
Frumie Goodman, the rabbi’s sister, lead the workshop. Goodman is a professional baker by hobby with a following on Instagram @frumieg.
Burston noted that Saturday, the date of the workshop, was the date of passing of their grandfather, Bernard Goldberg, a Holocaust survivor, who was a baker. He was saved by working as a baker for Oskar Schinlder. In fact, on Schindler’s List (the list, not the film) Goldberg’s job is listed a “Koch,” meaning he worked in the kitchen. Even after surviving the Holocaust, Goldberg provided for his family by working in a bakery.
“In the past my family had to bake to survive,” Burston said, “Today we are baking because we thrive!”
To find out more about Chabad’s educational programs, call Rabbi Pesach and Chana Burston at 845-782-2770, write rabbi@ChabadOrange.com or log onto www.ChabadOrange.com.