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Hundreds bond as they knead and braid
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Hundreds bond as they knead and braid

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The prayers and spirits of over 450 women and girls from all backgrounds and affiliations rose with the dough at the second annual Mega Challah Bake on Oct. 22 at the Freehold Radisson Hotel. 

It was an “evening of unity and inspiration” along with the kneading and braiding of the loaves for Shabbat, said Tova Chazanow, codirector of Chabad of Western Monmouth County. A video about the beauty of Shabbat was shown, and participants listened to and sang along with performer Esther Freeman. 

“The women sang together; braided their dough together; and prayed together for one another, their families, the community, and for the safety and security of our brothers and sisters in Israel and world peace,” said Chazanow. “The energy in the room was electrifying.”

The participants were welcomed by Rebbetzin Chana’le Wolosow of Marlboro; other rebbetzins who planned and participated in the event included Chazanow of Manalapan; Zisi Bernstein, Freehold; Ali Leverton, West Windsor; Rochi Galperin, Holmdel; Hindi Harrison, Congregation Beth Shalom, Red Bank; and Moushkie Volovik, Hindy Schechter, and Sara Schapiro, Morganville.

Sara Harris Kreisler, who spoke about her participation in the inaugural event last year, this year filled three tables with her friends. 

Chazanow spoke about the unifying power of women lighting Shabbos candles; as she separated a piece from five pounds of dough, everyone joined her in reciting the blessing. Schapiro led the women in a chapter of Tehillim, praying for the safety of the people of Israel, world peace, and individuals in need of support. 

Instructions on mixing and braiding were projected on screens throughout the room; assistance in the process was provided by 23 students from Beis Chaya Mushka in Monsey, NY. The event was hosted jointly by Chabad of WMC, Chabad Jewish Center of Holmdel, Chabad of Freehold, Chabad of West Windsor, the Friendship Circle of Central Jersey, and Congregation Beth Shalom of Red Bank. A buffet dinner was provided by Capri Kosher Restaurant in Manalapan.

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