The region’s fifth annual Challah in the CLE challah bake Oct. 25 will lead in to a weekend full of options for experiencing Shabbat.
Cheryl Fox, Cleveland Shabbos Project chairperson, said the events are meant to inspire Jews to take part by disconnecting from technology in order to reconnect with Jews and Judaism.
For the first time, a Men’s Night Out on the evening of Oct. 25 will include brief talks by local rabbis as well as a chance to drink beer and shoot hoops at the Mandel Jewish Community Center in Beachwood.
Fox said she’s been celebrating Shabbat for the past 15 years. She had no trouble naming her favorite moment of the prescribed weekly day of rest.
“Right after I light the candles and I take a breath,” she said. “The world looks different to me.”
Fox expects more than 1,000 women and girls to bake challah together at Landerhaven in Mayfield Heights using the same vegan recipe.
“We’re going to try to have it all in the grand ballroom and the atrium,” she said.
Some, she said, will bring their own ingredients, including a table of 10 women who will prepare gluten-free dough.
“It’s a very, very social event,” she said. “It gets very loud and nobody hears anything.”
From the start, there’s likely to be a playful atmosphere as three good friends take the stage to triple emcee the event: Dahlia Fisher, Judge Francine Goldberg and Dina Rock.
The three cooked up the idea to emcee together at a party. All three women work, are married and have children. Like the rest of the women in the room, they represent different parts of the Jewish spectrum.
Each said they appreciate the gift of time that family Shabbat offers.
“It’s a time that we are always together, and time really does stop,” said Dahlia Fisher, director of external relations for the Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage in Beachwood.
Her daughter, Maggie, with whom she has had as a guest at the challah bake in years past, is a student at the Joseph and Florence Mandel Jewish Day School in Beachwood, where their neighbor, Dina Rock, happens to be Maggie’s teacher. Fisher attends Solon Chabad and Jewish Family Experience in Beachwood.
Rock, a member of The Temple-Tifereth Israel in Beachwood, said she hopes the event helps create a new story for women and girls.
“Women are great at supporting each other in hard times,” she said. “Women should be celebrating each other all the time.”
Goldberg is a judge in Cuyahoga County Domestic Relations Court. She lives in University Heights, belongs to Green Road Synagogue in Beachwood and also attends the Jewish Family Experience.
Her favorite moment of Shabbat?
“Turning off my phone,” she said. “It’s a recharge and I think I’m better during the week because of it.”
The Shabbos Project was started in 2013 in South Africa by Chief Rabbi Warren Goldstein, who said, “What if we could get the entire local Jewish community to keep one complete Shabbat together – from sundown until stars out?”
The following year, the event went international.