The Great BIG Los Angeles Challah bake, which took place this past Thursday evening October 26 was a smashing success. The Challah Bake is a prelude to The Shabbos Project, a brainchild of Rabbi Dr. Warren Goldstein, Chief Rabbi of South Africa. In 2012, he envisioned a Shabbat where Jews all over South Africa would unite to observe the laws of Shabbat in its entirety with joy and light. Since then, the project has traversed the globe, in hundreds of cities in various countries and languages. The Challah Bake, which takes place Thursday night before the Shabbos Project weekend, aims to educate Jewish women about the powerful mitzvah of Hafrashas Challah (separating the dough) and assist them in fulfilling this mitzvah in a meaningful way, many for the first time.
The many dedicated Los Angeles volunteers coordinated two simultaneous events with combined attendance numbering over 800. Each venue displayed tasteful décor, impeccable organization, attention to detail and a multi-faceted program that educated, inspired and uplifted all who were in attendance.
The events began with a short reception with refreshments after which the participants were ushered to their baking tables. As women and girls found their seats and conversed with those around them, past Shabbos Project events throughout the world were projected over the screens highlighting the sheer magnitude and impact of these events, followed by a recording of a personal message from Rabbi Dr. Warren Goldstein for the Los Angeles community.
The programs continued with demonstrations of challah kneading and discussions about the immediate and powerful blessing that a woman brings into her home when fulfilling this mitzvah. While separating the dough, each table captain led her table in the recitation of the blessing on her bowl of dough. Capitalizing on the momentum and inspiration, participants took a moment for prayer, both for personal needs, for Israel, and for Jews around the world. The challah demonstrations continued with various challah braiding techniques and participant formed their own dough into challah. As could be expected, there were many first- time braiders who displayed great talent, forming intricate braids without any assistance, while others enjoyed the process, forming less than perfect looking challahs but infused with holiness and friendship and a commitment to perhaps try it again another week.
The program concluded with energetic dancing led by talented DJs. Participants left the evening with beautifully formed challas, newly formed friendships, and a deep appreciation for each other and the beautiful mitzvah of baking Challah.