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The Mitzvah of Challah Elevates a Special Women’s Evening

Months and months of preparation are reaching fruition as the Great Big Challah Bake of 2016 is set to take place at Passaic’s Factory 220 on Wednesday, November 9th at 6:40 pm, with doors opening at 5:30. It is expected that 2,000 women will be joining together for this festive occasion, and Dr. Galina Shenfeld, together with her committee, is anticipating an evening of excitement and learning. Advance reservations are required.

Dr. Shenfeld is the chairwoman of the WIZO-New Jersey chapter, which has sponsored this event for the past two years. All proceeds of the event will be going to WIZO’s Gina Fromer Battered Women’s Shelter in Jerusalem.

Rochie Pinson, author of “The Rising Life: Challah Baking Elevated” will explain the intricacies of the mitzvah of baking challah. Her beautiful book, perfectly suited for Chanukah gifts, will also be on sale at the event.

In memory of the 78th anniversary of Kristallnacht, which occurs on the same evening as the bake, Mrs. Vera Barta, a  Hungarian survivor of the Holocaust who lives in our community, will be attending the event with her daughter and honor the assemblage by lighting a candle to steadfastly show that our people continue to thrive. As the candle is being lit, the women will enjoy the stirring tones of Rebbetzin Kinneret Cohen, Israeli-born American singer who is also a popular speaker on TorahAnytime.com. She is known as an outstanding voice of Jewish music and performs all over the world for female audiences.

A particularly wondrous accomplishment of the Great Big Challah Bake is that it gathers together women from every walk of Jewish life. Participants from Hudson, Passaic, Essex and Bergen counties will be joining together at Factory 220. This event has nothing to do with synagogue affiliation or level of observance; the intention is solely to bring Jewish women together to enjoy each other’s company and learn from skilled challah bakers the understanding and grace necessary to bake a traditional challah. The challah bake originally was spawned from the worldwide Shabbos Project, which began three years ago in South Africa and encouraged Jews from all communities and observance levels to celebrate one Shabbat, together.

Enabling women from all walks of life to join together will help them appreciate what is most unique about this particular women’s mitzvah, and particularly how it is a special opportunity for individual prayer. Frequently there are postings on various listservs requesting forty women to bake challah in honor of the refuah (recovery) of someone who is critically ill. The person’s name will be shared and while baking or saying the hafrashat challah bracha, the women keeps in mind the name. Each lady attending the event will receive a package enabling her to continue the art of baking at her own home, with all the associated prayers and inspirational verses.

As the event has grown and become more public, many corporate sponsors generously donated their services and wanted to do whatever they could to insure the ultimate success of the event. The owners of Factory 220 have donated their premises, Main Event/Mauzone/Mark David Hospitality (M3) is donating the ingredients; Benzel-Busch Mercedes is sponsoring the aprons and challah covers, and Home Dynamics is making sure that the items to the event are delivered expeditiously. Participating vendors include The Jewish Link, Glatt Express, Lazy Bean Cafe, Elkray Healthcare Data Plumbers, Agresta Psychotherapy Group, CareOne at Teaneck, the CSS, Cake & Co, Cinch (formerly SodaScan), BML Blackbird Video Services, Move with Nat, AbbieSophia Photography, The Jewish Standard and Noa’s Graphic Design.

By Nina Glick

 

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