Dr. Beth Ricanati, a board-certified internist, has spent her career focused on improving the well-being of her patient’s lives, in traditional medical clinics, wellness programs, and now as an author/speaker. She has worked at the NY Presbyterian/Columbia Medical Center and the Cleveland Clinic, where she led a groundbreaking lifestyle modification program called LifeStyle 180, and today sees patients at the Venice Family Clinic in Los Angeles, the largest clinic in the country for the underserved.

Most recently, Beth has been speaking (both live and digital) around the country, based on the premise of her award-winning book, Braided: A Journey of a Thousand Challahs. Her audiences have included medical students, corporations, faith-based groups, schools and more.

Center for Jewish Philanthropy is thrilled to welcome Beth to our community on Wednesday, March 27, 2024, for our Women IN Philanthropy Braided: Finding wellness through ritual with Dr. Beth Ricanati, MD event where women of all ages will gather together to hear Beth share a bit about her story and lead the group in making challah. Click here to join us for the memorable evening, and check out below, the fun Q&A we did with Beth to learn more about her challah philosophy.

If your life were a challah recipe, what would be the secret ingredient?
My favorite moment is when we knead the dough. I always stop and take three deep breaths which helps me feel present.

If you could prescribe a daily ritual to everyone for better health, what would it be?
We all need to eat, and I love the idea of food as medicine. Making homemade challah is a weekly (ok, not daily!) ritual that reminds me of this all-important axiom, food is medicine. What we eat matters! Unlike processed foods, I know exactly what goes into my challah, and moreover, I can up the game and get the best ingredients that I can. This nourishes not only me – with the ritual of making the challah – but also anyone who then eats the challah.

If you had to pick one challah topping to represent your philosophy on life, what would it be?
A favorite philosophy of mine is to be true to yourself, and there is no better place to experience this firsthand then in what toppings you choose to use when making challah! I love when people get creative, with sweet or savory inventions, using toppings that have meaning to them.

What is one slice of wisdom you want readers to take away from your book, “Braided: A Journey of a Thousand Challahs?”
Learn how the act of making the bread―mixing and kneading, watching and waiting―can heal our heartache, our sense of being overwhelmed in today’s stressful world? It can. Learn what I learned: that simply stopping and baking bread – a nonpharmacological therapy – can be the best medicine that I can prescribe for us in our fast-paced world!

If you could invite three historical figures to a challah-making workshop, who would they be, and what unique twist do you think they would bring to the dough?
Making challah is an opportunity to bring people together and build bridges. In today’s stressful times, I welcome the opportunity to make challah with disparate people and in this case, the three I would invite include a rabbi, an imam and a bishop.

Please share anything you’d like people to know about you, your book, or the upcoming workshop in Phoenix.
I am a doctor, not a baker, and the Challah Practice™ Workshop is a journey together to learn about stress management techniques that are rooted in the ancient ritual of making challah. Together, we will make dough, and have some fun in the process! All of the ideas that we will discuss are based on tenets from my award-winning book, Braided: A Journey of a Thousand Challahs.

Braided: A Journey of a Thousand Challahs

Join us on March 27, 2024, for a special event with Beth Ricanati, M.D., where we will hear her story, make challah together and enjoy an evening of reflection and community. Your ticket ($50) includes a signed book, appetizers, and a challah to take home.

click here to register

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