clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Watch: Inside a Brooklyn Bakery in Ukraine

How one baker revived a Jewish community in a war torn city in Eastern Europe

This is the story of how a New Yorker revived a community in Uzhhorod, Ukraine by opening a bread bakery. In the latest from Great Big Story, a Jewish community lost and scattered after World War II found a place to feel at home among the challah and bialys baker Aaron Levitz started to make when he moved to Ukraine to be with his wife.

Though there are "probably less than 1,000" Jews living in the area now, according to a profile about Levitz published earlier this year, the area's population, no matter their background, is curious about its heritage and the traditions that existed in this area prior to 1944. "There is no food, let alone Jewish books. Then we come, and the reaction is mind-blowing," Levitz says. He's part of a sort of Jewish revival that's happening now across Ukraine, and his challah is the star of the show.

But that's not all the bakery produces. "It's not practical to make a Kosher bakery," Levitz says, because most of the population is not Jewish, so he's introducing Jewish breads alongside more familiar American and French pastries like red velvet cupcakes and chocolate eclairs. Levitz's aptly named Brooklyn Bakery is a hub for city life, and a beacon of hope for Ukrainian Jews who survived the war.