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Energy Is High as Hundreds of Women Gather in West Hartford for MEGA Challah Bake

The MEGA Challah Bake was held in West Hartford and organized by Chabad of Greater Hartford.

Egging and putting toppings on challas. Submitted photo (credit: Nick Caito Photography)

Egging and putting toppings on challas. Submitted photo (credit: Nick Caito Photography)

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Hundreds women and girls gathered at the Mega Challah Bake organized by Chabad of Greater Hartford. Participants from all across the Greater Hartford area packed the hall on Sunday, March 5, to learn the traditions of making challah.

It was a fun, inspiring afternoon with great feminine energy. The ambiance in the room was superb, an exquisite Shabbat table was set and tables stood ready with all the ingredients necessary for the challah dough.

Early arrivals sampled the many different flavors and shapes of challah laid on an abundant buffet. There were challahs shaped like birds, ladders, a key, whole wheat challah, tri-colored challah, gluten free challah and more.

Then it was action time! Water, sugar yeast, eggs, salt and oil went into the bowl. Participants were guided step by step, with a live demo on stage by Lauren Dembo and Claire Piekes of Hall High School, Aviana Schwartz of Beis Chana in New Haven and Yehudis Wolvovsky, Co-director of Chabad in Glastonbury. Then, the flour was added and everyone busied themselves with kneading to make the delicious dough.

The guest speaker, Mrs. Bluma Rivkin from New Orleans, inspired the crowd with sharing how making challah influences the energy in the home and keeping this ritual full of positive energy. She also spoke about two other “Mitzvahs” – commandments – that are special to women: family purity and lighting the Shabbat candles, and the power and influence a woman brings to her home.

“Learning about and making challah with 250 women was true nourishment for the spirit!” said Donna Cohen of Windsor CT. “Mrs. Rivkin was inspirational in sharing her own experience. It instilled in me a new confidence in how to approach life. I’m still smiling and thinking about what I heard today.”

Joselyn Raub united the room together in a meaningful moment, taking challah and reciting the blessing.  “While reciting the blessing a woman has a ‘direct channel’ to G-d and it’s an opportune time to ask for all that is on her heart and mind” said Joselyn.

At this auspicious time, many people recited names of those who they know who need a blessing in their life, health, happiness, children and more.

“I met women who wanted to have that link to their Judaism, but couldn’t do so on their own,” shared Joselyn. “Today gave them a way to bring the traditions into their lives and homes. This experience helped make connections with other women in the community, and find people you have never known and find commonalities.”

“I really needed this in my life!” one woman, who has a busy work life, shared with Joselyn.

Women finished off with braiding their now risen dough, learning new braids and shapes from challah experts circulating the room. The challahs were painted with egg wash and participants chose toppings from a wide selection. Women left the program, dancing, uplifted and united.

To learn more visit www.MegaChallahBakeCT.com or call 860.232.1116.

From left: Barbara Dell and Myra Emrick joyfully braid their challas. Submitted photo (credit: Nick Caito Photography)

From left: Barbara Dell and Myra Emrick joyfully braid their challas. Submitted photo (credit: Nick Caito Photography)

Bonnie Wiener (R) together with her granddaughter Lily Temkin, learn a new braiding technique from Chaya Matusof of Chabad (far left). Submitted photo (credit: Nick Caito Photography)

Bonnie Wiener (R) together with her granddaughter Lily Temkin, learn a new braiding technique from Chaya Matusof of Chabad (far left). Submitted photo (credit: Nick Caito Photography)

Women knead their dough at the MEGA Challah Bake. Submitted photo (credit: Nick Caito Photography)

Women knead their dough at the MEGA Challah Bake. Submitted photo (credit: Nick Caito Photography)

HANDS! Submitted photo (credit: Nick Caito Photography)

HANDS! Submitted photo (credit: Nick Caito Photography)

Event Committee (from left): Mushky Cowen, Pia Rosenberg Toro, Joselyn Raub, Kim Margolis, Jodie Sadowsky, Kimberly Matus, Traci Friedman, Amy Steinberg (Event Chair), Shayna Gopin of Chabad ( event co-ordinator). Missing from photo: Alisha Cipriano, Monica Gold, Alexis Hersh, Lisa Levy. Submitted photo (credit: Nick Caito Photography)

Event Committee (from left): Mushky Cowen, Pia Rosenberg Toro, Joselyn Raub, Kim Margolis, Jodie Sadowsky, Kimberly Matus, Traci Friedman, Amy Steinberg (Event Chair), Shayna Gopin of Chabad ( event co-ordinator). Missing from photo: Alisha Cipriano, Monica Gold, Alexis Hersh, Lisa Levy. Submitted photo (credit: Nick Caito Photography)

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