Call for Community Participation: Bake Challah, Make Art


February 25, 2022

FENTSTER is a window gallery in downtown Toronto presenting site-specific installations connected to the Jewish experience. FENTSTER is teaming up with Toronto-based artist Rob Shostak for a new exhibition (opening April 2022) drawing upon a community-contributed collection of parchment papers used to bake challah loaves for Shabbat.

We are calling on everyone, from first-time challah bakers to pros, to contribute parchment papers leftover from the baking process to this community effort!

“I see the act of baking as a form of mark-making with the imprint of the irregular braids or forms providing a hint to the unique structure of the bread. Each imprint says something uniquely individual about the baker and our cultural traditions, even as we are engaged in a shared communal activity.” – Rob Shostak

While today challah typically refers to the braided loaf common in Ashkenazi Jewish tradition, there are many traditions for bread at the Shabbat and Holiday table influenced by geographic and cultural factors. We welcome parchment papers that leave the mark of your traditions that animate Jewish life in your home.

We can’t wait to see your parchments and bakes!
The deadline for submission is April 5, 2022, with detailed instructions and dropoff info following below.

Learn more about the project!

A short history of challah can be found here.

Follow us! @ParchmentProject | @fentster_gallery | @Robonto

Get in touch – |

Step 1: You Bake

Use any challah recipe, from a family tradition to a gluten-free loaf, braided, round or otherwise. There are hundreds of recipes out there with different flavours to suit every taste and tradition. If you’re stuck or it’s your first time, consider Molly Yeh’s Challah which has great dough to work with. Clair Saffitz has a great recipe and uses tahini to enrich the dough. And, of course, here’s Jake Cohen baking challah with Katie Couric!

Don’t stop at just one. Bake more challot – share them with friends, family, and neighbours, or donate to organizations that accept home baked goods such as (call first to confirm need). Many food banks welcome homemade sandwiches but have a surplus of loaves of bread. Check out Sandwich Sisters to find a neighbourhood pod near you!

Step 2: Save the Parchment PaperTo keep the installation consistent :Use only white parchmentParchment should measure around 15” × 10”
(about the size of a standard baking sheet)Don’t worry about cutting a clean edgeFeel free to collect several parchments over time and contribute them together!*To avoid damage, please do not fold your parchment papers. See Step 4 for some helpful packing tips.
Step 3: Take PhotosTake at least one overhead photograph, preferably on a plain white/simple neutral background, of:your baked challahOptional:your parchment paperTry to match the examples shown on the right, and photograph each loaf separately. Try to get as close as you can to a neutral light background in your photos.Feeling inspired? Take extra photos of your baking process and your challah. Get creative, have fun with it!

Please note that by sending your photos, you maintain copyright and grant a worldwide non-exclusive, royalty free, irrevocable license to Rob Shostak, with no limit to their use online, in print, or by any other means both invented or to be invented. (This mostly means that you allow Rob and FENTSTER to use them, for example on Instagram and other mediums, but you still own the copyrights to the photos. Please indicate if you prefer not to be mentioned by name.)

If you have any questions or concerns please email I would be happy to discuss how the photos and other materials may be used for this project.

Step 4: Contributing Your Parchments, Photos, and Stories

Please note that all contributions will gratefully become a part of this project, and we thank you for understanding that it will not be possible to return your submissions.

Together with your parchment paper(s), please enclose a note with: Your name and general location
(ie. city or neighbourhood) Email, Instagram, or other social media handles The date your challah (or bread) was baked Optional: We also welcome receiving (handwritten or by email) : The recipe you used to make the challah, please credit the source. Any challah-related story you’d like to share Submitting Photos, Stories, Recipes Handwritten materials can be enclosed with your parchment papers for pickup, drop-off, or mail. All other materials can be sent to:
 Challah Bake Along Thursday, March 10 at 7 – 8pm Bake alongside artist Rob Shostak in conversation with Lauren Schreiber Sasaki of Jewish& as they prepare a braided challah together while chatting about his FENTSTER installation, Shabbat traditions, and his other artwork. FREE Online Workshop Advanced registration required: Presented by FENTSTER, Miles Nadal JCC,
LGBTQ+ at the J, and The Museum of Jewish Montreal

Pick ups

Pick up can be arranged within a limited geography in Toronto. Drop a note to see if we can or on Instagram @ParchmentProject.

Community Drop-offs

Friday, March 11 – Sunday, March 20, 2022 | 10 am – 3 pm

Miles Nadal JCC – 750 Spadina Avenue, Toronto

Bring to the main information desk, preferably in a clearly marked package.

Sunday, March 20, 2022 | 2 – 4 pm

FENTSTER @ Makom – 402 College Street, Toronto

Mail: Team up with friends and send them all together! Rob ShostakPO Box 99900 RF 585 764RPO Liberty VillageToronto, Ontario, Canada M5V 0M5 *To avoid damage, please do not fold your parchment papers. Some packing tips: Flat Packing- Sandwich the papers between 2 pieces of sturdy cardboard (cut a bit larger than the parchment) and package in an envelope or wrap paper.
– Place any other materials you send on the outside of the cardboard sandwich.
– Write DO NOT BEND across the envelope. Tube Mailer (more economical option)- Roll your parchment and send it in a tube mailer. – Try not to roll it too tightly to ensure the image does not flake off.

The deadline for receiving your parchments for inclusion in the installation:March 20, 2022

About the Artist

Rob Shostak is a multidisciplinary artist based in Toronto, Canada, whose work navigates the intersection of place, memory, and time. Shostak’s work has been exhibited at The Gladstone Hotel, the Toronto waterfront, the Bentway, among others, and appeared in Architectural Record, Azure, Domus, The Toronto Star, BlogTO, CBC, CityTV among others. Alongside these professional accomplishments, he is known for dressing up in his own custom designs of Toronto landmarks for Halloween. This ongoing project is the true display of his love for Toronto, and his passion for city building and community. Shostak is a co-founder of (Studio(Venn)Studio) – a queer-led multidisciplinary arts collective with Dionisios Vriniotis. | @Robonto 

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