KEEPING IT TOGETHER, ALL AROUND THE WORLD
5000 women make challah under the stars in Johannesburg as part of global Shabbos Project initiative
What goes into preparing a challah bake for 5000 women?
A year of anticipation, several months of preparing and planning and two full days of setting up, paved the way for the Johannesburg Great Challah Bake. Set in the open field of the majestic War Memorial in Saxonwold, under decorative lanterns and bunting, 5 000 women attended the challah bake. Despite an unforeseen thundershower, women donned their raincoats and gathered their family and friends for a night of blessings and baking.
As the crowds gathered and waited for the rain to subside The Moshav Band
performed an intimate set for the crowd of enthusiastic women. Children sat on the floor while women clapped and swayed to the spirit-lifting tunes.
The event got off to an exciting start, despite the incumbent weather. Each woman received a pre-packed bowl filled with all the necessary ingredients and equipment to prepare their challah dough. 1250 litres of water, 1 ton of sugar, 70 kgs of yeast, 10 tons of flour, 1200 litres of oil, 10 000 eggs and 200 kgs of salt were delivered to the venue, and set out neatly for each woman, along with plastic gloves, hand wipes and aprons.
Thousands of umbrellas decorated the venue, as women gathered to ‘knead it together’, pray together and sing together. Chief Rabbi Warren Goldstein welcomed the crowd, followed by a step-by-step Challah-making demonstration by Robyn Smookler. The crowd then enjoyed a melodic performance by Breindy Klawansky, which was followed by a performance by international superstar, singer-songwriterAlex Clare, who took to the stage and sang his heart out while participants danced in the rain.
As the night drew to an end and the clouds blew over, groups of women began to sing and dance under the stars. The electric atmosphere was palpable, as these women came together to unite and inspire one another.
1200 women attended a similar Challah Bake event at the Company’s Garden in Cape Town on Wednesday night, and similar events took place across the globe – from Mexico to Melbourne; Miami to Raanana. The events kicked-off the first ever global The Shabbos Project, in which over a million Jews from all walks of life are expected to ‘keep one full Sabbath together’.
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