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Great Big Challah Bake 2018–We Knead You!

Thanksgiving is a holiday that is celebrated once a year, right? But for Jewish people, Shabbat is like the special time of Thanksgiving. Every. Single. Friday. On Shabbat, also called Shabbos and the Sabbath, we gather with family and friends. We recognize our blessings. We give thanks. We splurge on a feast with our favorite foods. We decorate the table with fresh flowers, linen tablecloth, and candlesticks. We light candles, recite prayers, pour wine, share our abundance, and break bread. We eat some more. We engage in quality time with our children and families. We stuff ourselves with dessert. We enjoy our down time. We nap on the couch. We walk. We play. We hang out together. We immerse ourselves in a good book, as in, The book. We eat some more.

In the modern world of technology, it’s more challenging than ever to unplug from our non-stop schedules that includes jobs, kids, social media, traffic, deadlines, and everyday stresses in order to be still and reconnect with each other. Think of Shabbat as  25 hours of bliss, from sundown on Friday to  when the twinkling stars appear Saturday night, this is your time to rest, relax, rejuvenate the body, mind, and soul because when Sunday rolls around it’s time to get up and go again. Over the generations, many of these sacred rituals and traditions have faded away, and The Shabbat Project is here to remind us how to hold onto this gift we were given by our Creator. The Shabbos Project is a global, grass roots movement that is bringing awareness to why it’s more crucial than ever to honor this timeless observance that unites Jews all over the world. Our unity is what makes us special. Our unity is what makes us strong.

On Thursday, October 25th, Great Big Challah Bakes around the world will inspire hundreds of thousands of women to get covered in flour and let their spirits soar. From the Phillipines to Khazakiztan, from Nigeria to Nicaragua, for one very special night, Jewish women in more than 1,000 locations in 153 countries, will measure, mix, braid, dance, sing, and come away feeling even more proud to be Jewish.  Even if you’ve never braided bread or said Kiddush (the prayer over the wine), here’s your chance to learn what the magic of Shabbat is all about. Some of us will meet in intimate groups in our own kitchens and others will come together in large masses in community centers with matching aprons and door prizes. This global grassroots phenomenon was started in South Africa by Rabbi Dr. Warren Goldstein in 2013 and since then has grown to more than 1 million Jews in more than 1,000 cities across 94 countries.

This year’s Shabbat Project theme is “Stop doing. Start being,” which references the unique opportunity that Shabbat affords people to devote one day to the truly important things that might otherwise get lost in the chaos of our everyday lives. Shabbat is a “digital detox, a chance to practice mindfulness, and appreciate being in the moment.”

Whether it’s through baking challah, blessing the children, or sitting down with others for a meal free from the distraction of computers or cellphones, the Shabbat Project seeks to unite Jews of all denominations and nationalities.

Some of the scheduled events from around the world include a kosher Shabbat dinner at a backpacker’s lodge in Dalat, Vietnam; a challah-baking event in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where roughly 9,000 women are expected; a glow-in-the-dark challah event in Costa Rica; a binational gathering on the Mexico-U.S. border; and a dinner for 1,000 Israelis in a shipping hanger in Tel Aviv.

“What makes this year’s event in St. Louis different (or better) than last year is that we had one mega event at the JCC last year and this year smaller groups are hosting the parties. What I loved about the previous challah bakes is the amount of energy and sense of unity in the room. Getting together with hundreds of Jewish women to do the mitzvah of baking challah is so inspiring. Of course the dancing at the end was also so fun,” said Chana Bregman, Director of the Women’s Division at St. Louis Kollel, who is hosting the event on Thursday at Aish St. Louis, in Chesterfield. RSVP: cwolff@aish.com / 314-862-2474

“What I’m excited about for this year is that the smaller groups enable the ladies to get to know each other on a more intimate level. When you’re in a large room with so many other women, you tend to stick to your friends. In the smaller setting, it’s easier to get to know each other and develop new friendships while making challah. It can also leave room for more learning opportunities, allowing participants from all different backgrounds to ask questions of their coach if they’re wondering anything about the mitzvah that Hashem gave specifically to women. And of course, we still dance!”

To grasp the impact of the Great Big Challah Bake around the world, check out this video: https://www.youtube.com/user/TheShabbosProject

It’s not too late to get involved! For more information on the Shabbat Project near year, go HERE. And for more info on our local Great Big Challah Bake STL, go HERE!