Mega Challah Bake Unites 500 Women in Greenwich from across Fairfield County

Hundreds of Jewish women from across the community gathered together on Thursday evening at The Hyatt Regency Greenwich to “Unite, Discover, Connect and Share” – while learning the secrets to a traditional bread, challah.

An attendee of the Mega Challah Bake really getting into it! Credit: Karen Sheer

An attendee of the Mega Challah Bake really getting into it! Credit: Karen Sheer

Challah has many spiritual, and some would say magical components. What starts as just five basic ingredients — flour, yeast, eggs, water and sugar — can transform into meditation, blessings and prayers.

There were lots of kneading and braiding going on, as the women huddled together learning the skills required to mix and shape the perfect loaf, to adorn their Shabbat tables.

A light hand was needed to shape the challah, as many women realized – overworking the dough will prove a overly dense loaf. Just the right method was demonstrated, flour was used for dusting the dough, and cute pink gloves helped the hands from getting too sticky (and preserved manicures.)

This was a mega-organized event! Every seven years Jewish communities worldwide come together and celebrate the year of Hakhel. With 500 women scattered throughout the ballroom in round tables, every component was well thought through. Miriam Landa from the Chabad, Fairfield and Maryashie Deren from Chabad, Greenwich were co-hosts of the event, and were on the raised stage, guiding the women at every step. A two person band offered a heartfelt, familiar sound of music. After learning the technique of braiding the bread, each woman took home their challah on trays to bake at home.

“Egg” bread is considered to be richer bread than plain white bread. To make us all rich with health and blessings on Shabbat, we eat Challah. Yeast represents growth because it expands, meaning your family should grow and expand—physically, spiritually and emotionally.

Creating Sisterhood: They learned how to transform what they previously saw as a messy and time-consuming obligation into something beautiful and powerful. Women came with good friends, and extended themselves to others – creating a new circle of friendship. It was lovely to see how many brought their young daughters, the next generation of Jewish women “challah-makers.”

The Jewish woman carries the torch of tradition and passes on the chain of continuity to the next generation. As the backbone of her home, she sets the tone and imbues her environment with its inner spiritual mission.

Mothers teaching their daughters the art of Challah, and it's rich tradition. Credit: Karen Sheer

Mothers teaching their daughters the art of Challah, and it’s rich tradition. Credit: Karen Sheer

Women proofed the yeast in water, then added sugar, eggs, flour and salt with gusto. Credit: Karen Sheer

Women proofed the yeast in water, then added sugar, eggs, flour and salt with gusto. Credit: Karen Sheer

Miriam Landa from Chabad, Fairfield, and Maryashie Deren from Chabad, Greenwich were the lively hosts of the evening. Credit: Karen Sheer

Miriam Landa from Chabad, Fairfield, and Maryashie Deren from Chabad, Greenwich were the lively hosts of the evening. Credit: Karen Sheer

Teaching the young was a highlight of the evening, the next generation of challah-makers. Credit: Karen Sheer

Teaching the young was a highlight of the evening, the next generation of challah-makers. Credit: Karen Sheer

Showing off the covers for the challah - before getting sticky with dough. Credit: Karen Sheer

Showing off the covers for the challah – before getting sticky with dough. Credit: Karen Sheer

Dissolving the yeast in water with aprons on, participants listened carefully to their instructions. Credit: Karen Sheer

Dissolving the yeast in water with aprons on, participants listened carefully to their instructions. Credit: Karen Sheer

Women bonded as they stirred in the flour to create the perfect aromatic loaf. Credit: Karen Sheer

Women bonded as they stirred in the flour to create the perfect aromatic loaf. Credit: Karen Sheer

The challah is covered and soon ready to braid. Credit: Karen Sheer

The challah is covered and soon ready to braid. Credit: Karen Sheer


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