Challah Bake of the CLE Chabbath Project embraces connection, community | Local News



After a year of strictly baked challah breads, Shabbas Project CLE is preparing to return to programming in person – and with a virtual component – for its Challah Bake weekend October 21-23.

An in-person launch event will be held at 7 p.m. on October 21 at Jewish Family Experience, 2200 S. Green Road in University Heights, hosted by congregation co-founder and associate director Ruchi Koval. The launch event will air simultaneously for attendees who aren’t comfortable getting together amid the pandemic or who can’t attend in person for other reasons, Koval told the Cleveland Jewish News on October 11.

The event is organized in partnership with Partners Cleveland, in particular with the help of Rabbi Pinchas and Nomi Landis.

“Every year for Project Shabbos, we look at the different community organizations and see who we can partner with because we think this should be a community event,” said Koval, who is a columnist for the Cleveland Jewish News and runs JFX. . alongside her husband, co-founder and program director, Rabbi Sruly Koval. “It’s been tough with COVID-19 obviously, figuring out what to do, how to do it and if we can do it. Last year it was all virtual, but this year we are working in partnership with Partners Cleveland. It was their idea to do a small in-person event that would also be broadcast live. “

After renting for 10 years, JFX purchased the old Emanu El Temple building from John Carroll University on July 2. Koval said members of the congregation had been asking for years to hold Challah Bake in their kitchen, but members did not have access to the kitchen. and it was not kosher. Now with kosher cuisine, Koval explained that it makes sense to keep her there rather than at home.

“This is the year when we can do it and stop talking about it,” she said. “We were going back and forth to do it at my house or at JFX, and I really felt like we were so grateful to have this space. So why not use it?

In addition to hosting the Challah Bake launch event, the weekend will also include a Friday evening dinner hosted by Rabbi Yossi Bensoussan on October 22 and a Shabbat lunch hosted by Koval on October 23. Bensoussan serves as a mashgiach at the Yeshiva High School of Cleveland in Bois de Plage. At 8 p.m. on October 23, Partners Cleveland will host a bonfire in Havdallah for Young Professionals in partnership with Young Professionals at JFX.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the Challah Bake brought together hundreds of women and girls from across Cleveland’s Jewish community. This year it will be much smaller, which Koval wants to positively exploit.

“One of the most enjoyable parts of cooking challah in previous years had been the pruning, bringing so many Jewish women and girls together in one space,” she said. “There was something so exhilarating about it. With COVID, these types of gatherings had been rare, but I also think there is something lost in these events as well – and that is the intimacy and connection. Sometimes what you need to do is take your disadvantage and turn it into an advantage.

And those who still want to participate in person, but don’t want to do so at JFX, have the option of making their own community challah baking pods. The Shabbos Project will provide everything needed for cooking, including a member of the team to help facilitate each pod.

“Last year people were scared even with the suggestion of this because a lot of people weren’t vaccinated,” Koval said. “But with this year, people can socialize more and feel comfortable with family and friends. It is a great alternative where you can have that advantage of live streaming but also the social component to create your group of people that you are comfortable with.

Adding that “Shabbat is not meant to be celebrated in a vacuum,” Koval said anyone can get involved in this year’s CLE Shabbat Project festivities.

“You don’t need to be a JFX member or know any of us to sign up,” she said. “We like to bring diverse groups of Jews together in one room to celebrate our common heritage. Our door is wide open.

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