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THE GREAT CHALLAH BAKE

By: Fortune Mizrachi



Community Women Create Achdut and Challahs Together

Hundreds of Sephardic women gathered together on October 22, 2015
at the Sephardic Community Center in Brooklyn for the community’s first “Great Challah Bake.”

The event, spearheaded by “Moms on a Mitzvah” in conjunction with the Shabbos Project, introduced the Brooklyn Sephardic community to The Great Challah Bake, a wonderful women’s event which started as a community project in South Africa and has become tremendously popular in Jewish communities world-wide.

Rabbi Warren Goldstein, the Chief Rabbi of South Africa, is the originator of the Shabbos Project and The Great Challah Bake. He created the Shabbos project as a vehicle for getting more Jews to keep Shabbat together, worldwide. Some communities have promoted the hosting of unaffiliated Jews for Shabbat meals, others made community havdalahconcerts, and others hosted communal challah bakes. Rabbi Goldstein envisioned huge gatherings for women where they would bake challah together and then make the blessings for the hafrashain unison. Thus was born The Great Challah Bake.

Since baking challah at home is not foreign to many of our community women, the “Moms on a Mitzvah” team decided to create an event that focused not only on education. They made the day a wonderful vehicle for achdut, unity, which was also inspirational, spiritually uplifting, and fun!

The Community Center’s “blue gym” was transformed into a phenomenal challah making center, with tables set up with everything the women needed to make their own challahs – pre-measured ingredients, bowls, and all the necessary supplies.

Renowned chefs, authors, and foodies were brought in. Each one led a table of women, and shared her expertise, unique techniques, and tips. Participants chose among the vast array of impressive names including Aliza Salem – The Ghetto Gourmet, Barbara Ben Soussan –
The Well Spiced Life, Chaya Lichtenstein – Chef Chaya, Claudia Bildiricci – Claudia at Home, Emily Massry – Challi N’ Biscotti,  Esther Anzarooth – Gluten Free SY, Kelly Cohen – My Organic Diary, Kim Kushner – The New Kosher, Levana  Kirshenbaum – Levana Cooks, Naomi Nachman – The Aussie Gourmet, Poopa Dweck – Aromas of Aleppo, Shifra Klien – The Joy of Kosher Magazine, and Shushy Turin-Shine – Cooking in Heels.

The leaders guided the women at their tables in preparing the challah dough together. As the dough was rising the women were treated to inspiring words by Rebbetzin Sarah Feldbrand, who compared child rearing to baking challah. She explained that, as in putting ingredients into our challahs, we develop our children by carefully putting in all the proper ingredients in the appropriate amounts, and praying and hoping for the best outcome. She explained that challah baking can be associated with understanding and developing patience, bitachonand trust. 

Finally, the women stormed to the center of the room with much emotion. There was a real feeling of exuberance as everyone joined insong and dance, epitomizing the unity, love and the true purpose of the day.

The event was a tremendous success and a true Kiddush Hashem, as each participant left with the feeling of happiness, fulfillment, and pride.