Tucson to join global Shabbat with challah baking event

Ingredients are set out for a mega challah bake. (Courtesy Chabad Tucson)
Ingredients are set out for a mega challah bake. (Courtesy Chabad Tucson)

The Shabbos Project, a global movement to celebrate the Jewish day of rest on the weekend of Oct. 24-25, will be marked in Tucson with a Mega Challah Bake for women and girls (ages 9 and up) at the Tucson Jewish Community Center on Thursday, Oct. 23, from 7 to 9 p.m.

Organizers from the JCC and Chabad Tucson, with the participation of local congregations, Tucson Hebrew Academy and Tucson Hebrew High, hope to reprise the success of the program that originated last year in Johannesburg, where women from all walks of life joined in a street challah bake.

South African Chief Rabbi Warren Goldstein created the Shabbos Project (www.theshabbosproject.org) to encourage Jews in his country to experience what it is like to “keep one Shabbos together, from sundown on Friday to stars out on Saturday night.” This year the project expanded globally.

“The mission of the Shabbos Project is to renew a sense of faith and to become invigorated on a spiritual and physical level,” says Julie Zorn, Jewish culture specialist at the JCC. “Bringing Jewish women of all backgrounds from our community together in one evening to fulfill the Sabbath blessing is a way of doing that. Together, we will work on creating a holy act and share this moment as one strong community and from generation to generation.”

Feigie Ceitlin, program director of Chabad Tucson, will lead the challah baking using her grandmother’s recipe. “Challah brings blessings and protection to our homes, in addition to the amazing aroma and addictive taste. Baking challah was one of the mitzvot given specifically to women, dating back to our matriarch Sarah. A special blessing is said for the ‘separation of the challah’,” she says, explaining that “the actual mitzvah of challah is to set aside a small portion from a batch of dough, as was done in the holy Temple, reminding us that whatever we have should be shared with others.”

A buffet with specialty challahs and dips will be served. Participants will leave with their own challah, aprons and other souvenirs. Admission is $18.Registration is required at 299-3000 or www.ChabadTucson.com/MegaChallah.