Five plus years into her journey of making challah every Friday, physician-mother Beth Ricanati realized that she had learned some powerful lessons – lessons that resulted in her feeling happier and healthier. Trying to do it all (well) – and do it all at once – had left her stressed out and overwhelmed. Standing at her kitchen counter, hands deep in a bowl of dough, Beth found a way to be more mindful, more present by embracing a meaningful ritual, in this case, making challah. Acknowledging that she couldn’t possibly be the only stressed mother on the block, she set about writing what has become Braided: A Journey of a Thousand Challahs in order to share both her own story and offer a how-to for others seeking to be more present in their own lives.

Since the release of this award-winning book, Beth has been sharing not only her story, but also offering an array of events that explore what it means to have a meaningful ritual, the importance of building and sustaining communities and exploring the health and wellness benefits of having such rituals in our lives.


Presentation Options

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BRAIDING challah + speaking

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making challah + speaking

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i can speak to group sizes ranging from intimate (10-15) to large keynote (200+).  Events have occurred at (but not limited to) synagogues, Jewish Federations, private homes, medical professionals and other organizations.

I still cannot stop thinking about how beautiful today was. You led us on quite a journey- from strangers in a room who were nervous to connect- to the beginning of a community that has now broken the ice. I cannot wait to see what the spark that you created today ignites in others. I have no doubt this is only the beginning of more beautiful connections, conversations and challahs to come. Thank you for sharing your light with us today.
— Jenna Benn Shersher, Founder & Executive Director, Twist Out Cancer, Philadelphia, PA
We enjoyed a special well-attended winter meeting, thanks to Beth Ricanati’s warm message. The comments we are hearing from attendees reflect their good feelings about the luncheon and many members went home and baked challah!
— Cindy Glazer, VP Program/Education, NCJW-Cleveland, Cleveland, OH
It was our honor to have Dr. Ricanati speak, and be an audience to her transformative journey, which was captivating, awe-inspiring, and very peaceful, all at once! Thank you for sharing your work- life pilgrimage with us.
— Reema Gulati, MD, Women Faculty School of Medicine (WFSOM), Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, Cleveland, OH
It was a JOYFUL and DELICIOUS morning with Beth and the women of Beth El Women. Not only did we share memories and measuring cups, we made new ones with the help of Beth and her delicious tales of challah baking and how it has helped her along the way. 27 of us walked out with challahs to bake at home and a new tradition to carry on. Thank you Beth for helping us create a Shabbat Shalom!
— Pam Barasch, Co-President, Beth El Women, Peninsula Temple Beth El, San Mateo, CA
This past November 2018 at the Soul Center, we hosted Beth Ricanati, author of Braided: A Journey of a Thousand Challahs. She spoke thoughtfully and authentically about mothering, about a search for meaning, and about a sense of connection that came through her journey as a crazy busy internist with a successful career, raising three children, with little time to take care of herself. One day, she decided to bake challah, and Braided is her memoir about her experience baking challah each week and how it changed her life, ten years into this weekly ritual. Mixing in her medical wisdom and experience with Jewish wisdom that she found along the way, it was a sweet and lovely event. We highly recommend bringing Beth to your town!
— Rachel Siegal, Managing Director, Soul Center at Beth El Congregation, Pikesville, MD
That Dr. Beth Ricanati is a known and accomplished women’s health and wellness physician only adds to her credibility when she writes and speaks about pursuing spiritual meaning, and with it, developing a hobby or special interest to underscore that need. Her story; her chosen passion of baking Challah before Shabbat and Jewish holidays; and the book in where she details an aspect of her life’s journey is a must read. Braided: A Journey of A Thousand Challahs is Dr. Ricanati’s account of a self-prescribed coping mechanism that helped her regain perspective and further meaning in her life. Soft spoken, informative, highly approachable and articulate, Dr. Ricanati is well worth having as a lecture in residence. Her explanations are clear, the subject matter has application beyond one’s interest, or lack thereof, in baking bread. I cannot endorse her more fully. She’s simply delightful!
— Rabbi Michael Gotlieb, Congregation Kehillat Ma'arav, Santa Monica, CA
Dr. Beth Ricanati was recently a member of a panel at Jewish Women’s Theatre. She opened our program with a demonstration of challah baking and a charming and humorous discussion of how this Sabbath ritual has significant therapeutic value for de-stressing all of us. The audience loved her and her knowledge and charm are sure to be a hit anywhere.
— Maureen Rubin, Public and Community Relations, Jewish Women’s Theater, Santa Monica, CA