Place 2 cups water in a large saucepan; bring to a boil. Add raisins, shortening, sugar, cinnamon, and cloves. Cook 10 minutes; remove mixture from heat, and cool.
Dissolve soda in 1/2 cup hot water; add to raisin mixture. Add flour and salt; mix well.
Spoon batter into 2 greased 8 1/2- x 4 1/2- x 3-inch loaf pans. Bake at 350° for 1 hour and 10 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan 10 minutes; invert onto serving platter.