Perhaps the best way to understand the scope of Miami’s “Great Big Challah Bake” Thursday evening is to take a look at the grocery list.
What is on it? Oh, just 10,080 eggs, 25,344 ounces of vegetable oil, 3,960 pounds of sugar, 252 pounds of salt, 12,320 pounds of flour, 80,256 ounces of water, and 154 pounds of yeast.
More than 2,000 Jewish women from South Florida will be tasked with the mixing, kneading and blessing of these ingredients as part of a worldwide initiative to encourage Jews to observe a full sabbath together.
These women will gather at the Miami Beach Convention Center, but they will be joined by thousands across the world as they learn to bake challah, a braided yellow bread traditionally eaten by Jews on Shabbat.
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The baking will usher in a weekend of events inspired by the Shabbos Project, which is a movement conceived in South Africa last year to much success. This weekend, the project’s efforts to promote Jewish unity through one common goal will be imitated in more than 30 countries.
“For the Jewish community here to have the opportunity to be part of a global initiative, it is very exciting,” said Robin Jacobs, co-chair of the Shabbos Project’s Florida division. “It gives everything a great energy.”
Planned events such as shabbos dinners are designed to remind Jews of their shared bond with other Jews, whether across the world or across the street. That message of Jewish togetherness especially resonates in a city as international as Miami.
“We are so diverse and we come from so many places, but this is an opportunity to share things together,” said Robin Jacobs, co-chair of the Shabbos Project’s Florida division. “We all have that common ancestry.”
Jacobs says these traditions also have the power to connect them with the generations who have come before them.
With the challah bake, she says, “they will have the chance to experience a tradition that they may remember their mother or grandmother doing, but have never done before.”
The baking extravaganza will be led with a demonstration by “challah expert” Tila Falic Levi. All of the ingredients and equipment will be provided and admission is free.
“The community really pulled together to make this a complimentary event,” said Linda Bogin, the bake chair. “Many of the ingredients have been supplied by the manufacturers.”
She says the coordinating of such an abundant supply of ingredients has been challenging, but she looks forward to what the women will take away from the experience, besides challah of course. Women and girls ages 11 and up are welcome to attend.
“To me, the best part is that you have every faction of Judaisim participating,” Bogan said. “Someone who is not observant at all will feel comfortable and will be preparing challah. It is exciting.”
If you go
Great Big Challah Bake
Where: Miami Beach Convention Center, 1901 Convention Center Dr., Miami Beach.
When: Doors open at 6 p.m. and the event begins at 7 p.m. Thursday
Cost: Free. If you want to reserve a seat, there is a $5 fee. Register at tiny.cc/floridashabbos.
For more information: Visit shabbatprojectflorida.com.
Other Shabbos Project events around town this weekend:
Miami Beach Jewish Community Center - Three traditional Shabbat meals will be served and guests are welcome to attend services. Tickets to the meals are $125 for adults and $60 for children. Visit mbjcc.org for more information.
Chabad House in Miami Beach - Shabbat services will be held Firday at 6:30 p.m. followed by dinner. There is a suggested donation of $18. For more information, visit mbjewish.com.
KSpace Miami - Jewish singles ages 18 to 35 are invited to enjoy a shabbat dinner at 7:15 p.m Friday. Tickets are $18. For more information, visit www.kspacemiami.com.
The Shul Jewish Community Center - A traditional Shabbat dinner will be offered at the Shul of Bal Harbour at 8 p.m. Friday. The meal is $20 for adults and $6 for children. For more information, visit www.theshul.org.