Take a room full of beautiful Jewish kids, add some baking ingredients, mixing utensils, and a hefty dose of fun, and what do you get? A Kids Mega Challah Bake!
On Sunday, Jan. 28, over 150 parents and children gathered together in the Bender Jewish Community Center (JCC) for Potomac’s first-ever Kids Mega Challah Bake. The Kids Mega Challah Bake was co-sponsored by Chabad of Potomac Hebrew School, the Bender JCC, and by Lisa and Gary Rosen in loving memory of their moms, Arline Rosen and Nola Alpert Golden.
The event began with each child decorating a gift bag with a personal note. The gift bags were for the “Loaf of Love,” the challah that each child set aside to give away after baking all their challahs.
Participants then made their way into the main room, arranged with long rows of tables set to perfection for the mini challah chef: from the challah ingredients, all premeasured and packaged in small individual containers, to the chef hats and challah aprons.
Families got busy pouring, mixing, and kneading their challah dough until it was ready to rise. While they waited, children made their way to the “Build a Challah Workshop,” a Jewish twist (no pun intended) on the popular Build-a-Bear concept. Children chose from one of three adorable challah pillows to stuff, name, customize with blessings and mitzvot, and take home in a box designed with love especially by them.
Challah was taken from a large batch and the blessing was recited, during which all the children and parents had the opportunity to say a silent prayer over their own challah dough for any blessings they might need. The mitzvah of “taking challah” refers to taking a small amount of challah dough from a large batch and burning it as a substitution for the priestly offering and to recall the destruction of the Temple. The rising challah was then shaped, and some participants decorated their challahs with colored sprinkles or chocolate chips.
The mixture of Jewish unity, Jewish pride, and the hands-on experience of making and bringing home a piece of Judaism was the perfect recipe for a fun and meaningful morning.
“The Kids Mega Challah Bake was a wonderful, creative, and meaningful experience for my family,” said Tracy Tabachow, a Chabad of Potomac Hebrew School mom. “I always thought that baking challah was intended for people to eat and enjoy, but through this program, I learned that challah baking is also a spiritual experience, complete with self-reflection and prayer.”
“One of the greatest parts of the morning was hearing my children discuss who they should give their second challah to,” she added. “It was even better when we delivered it and made that person smile.”
Kids and parents are already looking forward to next year’s Kids Mega Challah Bake. “We had such a great time at the Challah Bake,” said Alli Kimball, another Chabad of Potomac Hebrew School mom. “My daughter and niece had the best time and keep asking when we can do it again!”
By Emily Cohen