WILMETTE – Some 150 eager women filed into the Chabad Center for Jewish Life and Learning on Jan. 22, greeted by elegant pink decor and warm lighting to experience a glamorous twist on a time-honored tradition. These women from all across the North Shore participated in the Mega Challah Bake, sponsored by Chabad’s Women’s Circle.
Rivke Flinkenstein, co-director of Chabad of Wilmette and the event coordinator, opened the event by explaining that baking the Challah bread is a unique opportunity entrusted especially to the Jewish woman. “Separating” the challah, she explained, is an auspicious time for prayer and reflection—a tradition generally passed down from mother to daughter.
Mrs. Flinkenstein, a popular baker and chef in her own right, led the women through the process, explaining the significance behind each step. Each of the ingredients were pre-measured on the tables. The women also viewed a multimedia presentation about the age-old tradition of baking challah.
While the dough was rising, attendees were treated to a breathtaking performance by 14-year-old Opera singer Laura Bretan who gained fame as a finalist in Season 10 of America’s Got Talent. Bretan, a Northbrook native, serenaded the audience with two Italian Opera songs and a rousing rendition of the Hebrew prayer for peace, “Oseh Shalom”. Bretan’s long time trainer Nicole Roman is a regular at Chabad of Wilmette and coordinated the special performance.
The event concluded with mothers and daughters joining arms in large circle around the room in their “Mega Challah Bake” aprons. Each participant took home her very own challah to bake at home. It was a stylish, spiritual and uplifting evening, and joy was felt by attendees of all ages.
Submitted by Chabad Center or Jewish Life and Learning in Wilmette