It marked the beginning of Sydney’s “Shabbat Project”, aimed at bringing together Jews from across the religious spectrum, as well as reconnecting many who are non-practising.
Challah is the traditional plaited bread that Jewish families eat on the Sabbath, which runs from sunset on Friday night to sunset on Saturday night.
The big Challah Bake kicked off a weekend where families and communities around the world will share one single Shabbat – forgoing technology, electricity, and instead spend quality time with loved ones.
Lead by Rabbi Benji Levy, the Sydney Challah Bake reinforced the importance of Shabbat and urged people to put down their smartphones.
“Technology is the greatest enabler that we have, but, at the same time, we need to know when to disconnect, to reconnect, when to put down face time and have face-to-face conversation and when to be connected to those we truly love around us,” he said.
The Challah Bake is the brainchild of South Africa’s chief Rabbi Warren Goldstein who initiated the first event in Johannesburg last year.
Twelve months on, more than 470 cities have jumped on board including Hong Kong, Jerusalem, Montreal, Houston, Melbourne and Canberra. Sydney is one of the leading cities.
Preparing the challah bread is just the first step in the Shabbat Project. Organisers then hope every woman takes the dough home, bakes it and shares it with family members.
That, in turn, would bring tens of thousands of Jewish Australians together as part of the global movement
Additional “Shabbat Project” events scheduled for this weekend include joint communal meals and festive havdalah ceremonies and concerts.