How to Make Challah

In 1975, Jane filmed her 97-year-old immigrant grandmother baking the traditional Jewish bread challah. In 2022, Jane (now age 80) attempts to bake challah on her own for the very first time. A short documentary about what we pass on to the next generation.

  • Sarah Rosen
    You Can Stay Here If You Want
  • Sarah Rosen
    You Can Stay Here If You Want
  • Jane Barowitz
    Key Cast
  • Matt Shapiro
    No Hard Feelings
  • Project Type:
    Documentary, Short
  • Genres:
    comedy, family, archival, jewish
  • Runtime:
    11 minutes 50 seconds
  • Country of Origin:
    United States
  • Shooting Format:
    16mm, digital, video
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
Director Biography - Sarah Rosen

Sarah Rosen is a writer and director. She was awarded the 2022-23 NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellowship in Screenwriting. She graduated with a B.A. in film from Yale University and studied film at FAMU in Prague. Other awards and fellowships: 2023 Cine Qua Non Independent Film Lab, la Porte Peinte Artist Residency, Dorot Fellowship, Gotham’s Marcie Bloom Fellowship in Film. Her latest short film screened at the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival, Hollyshorts, SENE Film Festival (award winner), Belgrade’s Fine Line Film Festival (award winner), New York Shorts, and more. She has developed TV series with production companies in Tel Aviv and London. Her writing has appeared in the New York Times, Harper's Magazine, Jewish Currents, the Jerusalem Post, and more.

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Director Statement

In 1975, my aunt Jane – who has lived in New York City for 8 decades – filmed her immigrant grandmother, then age 97, baking challah in her tiny kitchen on the Upper West Side. In 2022, I continued this ritual by filming my aunt Jane as she attempted to bake challah for the very first time 47 years later, at age 80. As she bakes, she reflects back on her and her grandmother's life, the early Jewish immigrant experience, and how New York City has changed. “HOW TO MAKE CHALLAH” cuts between the 1975 tape of my great-grandmother and the 2022 tape of my aunt Jane, playfully and evocatively highlighting generations of older women performing this cultural-religious ritual over the span of fifty years. The film gently interrogates what we hope to pass on from one generation to the next, and what we hope to leave behind – and how we have less control over our legacies than we think. The film is about the age-old significance of conversation between generations of women in the kitchen, and how much a day of baking bread can reveal about class, culture, family, history, and Jewish women’s history and expanding freedom in America.