Mega Challah Bakes in Birmingham, New Orleans in November

The Oct. 6 Pink Mega Challah Bake in Baton Rouge

Challah on Shabbat and holidays is one of the most recognizable mitzvahs in Jewish life, and in communities across the region, large numbers of women are attending challah-making Mega Bakes, which are organized as evenings of “unity and inspiration” involving multiple Jewish women’s groups in each community, coordinated by the local Chabad.

In some communities, the Challah Bake is also tied to breast cancer awareness programs, while learning how to make challah together.

New Orleans and Birmingham will have programs in November, while Huntsville had a Mega Challah Bake 100 in May, and Baton Rouge had a Pink Mega Challah Bake on Oct. 6, involving Chabad of Baton Rouge, Hadassah Baton Rouge, Beth Shalom, B’nai Israel and Lafayette’s Temple Shalom.

Birmingham will hold a Pink Challah Bake on Nov. 10 at the Levite Jewish Community Center, from 4 to 6 p.m., a joint project of the LJCC, Chabad of Alabama, Myriad Women’s Health and The Shabbat Project.

To raise breast cancer awareness, starting at 3 p.m. Myriad will be offering educational resources. A local physician will be available for BRCA screening and testing, those who are interested should bring an insurance card.

There will also be a video montage for friends and family members who have been lost to breast cancer.

Reservations for the Birmingham event are $18. Seating is limited, and reservations are requested by Nov. 5.

In New Orleans, Chabad and Hadassah New Orleans are inviting women “to an evening of unity and inspiration” with the Women’s Mega Challah Bake 250, Nov. 13 at 7 p.m. at Gates of Prayer in Metairie.

The 2017 Mega Challah Bake attracted 200 participants, so this year it is being expanded to 250 spaces, and Chaya Ceitlin said “we are expecting to be sold out this year well ahead of time based on how registration is going.”

Sisterhoods, synagogues and Jewish organizations from across the community are joining as community co-sponsors of the event, including the synagogues and/or Sisterhoods of Anshe Sfard, Beth Israel, Chabad Center of Metairie, Chabad House Uptown, Gates of Prayer, Northshore Jewish Congregation, Shir Chadash and Temple Sinai and the following community organizations of Chabad of Southern Mississippi, Cteen, National Council of Jewish Women, Jewish Community Day School, JNOLA and Torah Academy.

This event will feature elegant refreshments, as well as a wine bar donated by Royal Wines. Each participant will be able to make her own dough for two challah loaves to be baked at home and will receive a personalized apron to commemorate the event.

Prior challah baking experience is not necessary, as it is for beginners and advanced challah bakers. This year there will be one designated table for teens ages 14 to 17.

Registration is $36 before Nov. 6, and is available here.

The 2017 event had a Woman of Valor dedication display. This year, women may honor their loved ones through the Tree of Life Sponsorship, starting at $118. Honorees may include moms, grandmothers, mentors, friends, students, children, grandchildren. Honorees’ names will be featured on a display composed of roots, branches and leaves woven together to create a Tree of Life.