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1,000 women bake challah together in Montreal

Women participate in the annual MTL Challah Bake at the Crowne Plaza hotel in Montreal on Nov. 14.

Over 1,000 Jewish women from different backgrounds and of varying levels of observance joined together in a show of unity at the fifth-annual MTL Challah Bake at the Crowne Plaza hotel in Montreal on Nov. 14.

The event was one of hundreds that are taking place around the world, as part of a grassroots movement called the Shabbat Project. From glow-in-the-dark to silent disco, to mindfulness and meditation-themed celebrations, each Challah Bake had its own flavour.

This year, the MTL Challah Bake featured a performance by the Shira Choir, a group of singers with developmental disabilities that’s directed by Cantor Danny Benlolo.

Co-chaired by Ella Barr, Cindi Becker, Sandra Eskenazi and Lynn Etinson, the event’s proceeds are going to support the Combined Jewish Appeal, which officially closes this month.

From left, MTL Challah Bake co-chairs Lynn Etinson, Ella Barr, Sandra Eskenazi and Cindi Arbeiter Becker display their creations.

“There are so many different ways to live Jewishly today, and making challah is an important part of how I celebrate Shabbat with my family each week,” said Ruth Bensimon Choueke, the chair of Federation CJA’s Women’s Philanthropy campaign, which hosted the event.

“Whether you’re Sephardic or Ashkenazic, young or old, religious or secular, a recent immigrant or a fourth-generation Montrealer, the challah bake is a beautiful opportunity to strengthen our sense of community, connecting with each other and our shared traditions.”

Created by South African Chief Rabbi Warren Goldstein, the annual Shabbat Project aims to unite Jews across the political, ideological and national spectrum by experiencing one full Shabbat at the same time.

Over a million Jews in 101 countries and 1,511 cities are expected to take part in various events hosted by families, schools and synagogues this year.