Meet Rose Groat-Fischer, founder of Challah at the Irish Lady. During the month of March, she donated 100% of her profits by selling Challah to a group called Save The Children Ukraine. Since then, Rose’s success has landed her on TV and continuing her contributions to the Ukraine cause. Rose is an inspiration and we are so excited to share her story!
Where are you from?
I’m originally from Middletown, Connecticut. Almost 5 years ago my husband and I moved to South Bend, Indiana so he could complete his master’s degree program. That’s finished, but we love the community, so here we are!
What did you do Jewish growing up?
I converted to Judaism 4 years ago, ahead of my wedding, so I didn’t do anything Jewish growing up. In some ways I feel like making up for lost time though! Judaism has felt so natural for me, I would describe it as a feeling of coming home.
What is your favorite flavor of Challah?
My absolute favorite flavor is anything sweet! But a savory flavor I really love is an everything bagel!
How did you get into the bread business?
As I was growing through my conversion class, I wanted a way to be more physically connected with the spiritual and mental processes that come before the mikvah. I first learned about challah through my husband’s family, and I had enjoyed some bread baking in college, so this seemed like a natural way to engage all my senses, spiritually, mentally, and physically.
What made you start your business?
Starting in March, my business model changed a little bit. During that month I donated 100% of the profits to a group called Save The Children _Ukraine, a chapter of the group Save The Children which started in 1919. I was baking more than we could eat or give away and I wanted to keep baking, so Challah at the Irish Lady was born. Thanks to a few news segments and everyone who bought bread and made monetary donations, I was able to donate $872.00 (see Ukraine highlights on my Instagram for more info). That fundraiser was so successful that I decided to donate 10% of profits each month to a different organization in need.
What does Jewish food mean to you?
I find Jewish food to be an excellent window into Jewish culture. Through food, we can learn about the different holidays, like challah for Shabbos or matzoh for Pesach or bagels for breakfast. Through my studies of both classic and modern Jewish foods, I have learned about Jewish cultures outside of American Ashkenazic tradition, such as Sephardic and Mizrahi traditions. By baking and keeping kosher I have learned a lot about Judaism, but I am also able to connect with my faith multiple times a day in minute actions.
What Jewish classics are you most excited about?
classics could have different meanings, such as food, books, or movies. I love classic sweet challah. For my vegan version, I use maple syrup in place of egg wash. I also love matzoh ball soup and rugelach! For classic books, I really like The Sabbath by Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel and Rabbi Joseph Telushkin’s Jewish Literacy and Jewish Wisdom. These books were also foundational parts of my conversion process. Lastly, I absolutely love Fiddler on The Roof!
What is your personal favorite menu item?
I would have to say my favorite item from my personal menu is actually a tie between the Apple Pie flavored Challah and the Oreo stuffed. It is so hard for me to choose though!
How do we find out more?
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