By Deb Silverthorn
The Great Pink Challah Bake has all the right ingredients to create an evening of memory, health education and deliciousness for Shabbos tables throughout the community. The doors will open at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 24, in Zale Auditorium at the Aaron Family JCC for a night of flour, fun, friends and family.
“We’re all so busy, and on Shabbos, we change from humans ‘doing’ to humans ‘being,’ disconnecting from everything but those around us,” said Marcy Rhoads, chair of the event. “We energize and let go. At the Pink Challah Bake, we’ll get into the mood, into the spirit and prepare something holy, delicious and filled with love to nourish our families and their souls.”
The Challah Bake is part of The Shabbos Project, which takes place Oct. 26 and 27.
“The Shabbos Project, which began in 2013 in South Africa as a global, grassroots movement that brings Jews from across the world together to celebrate and keep one complete Shabbat, brings together neighbors, families and strangers – who become strangers no longer,” Rhoads said. “The Challah Bake is a kick-off to something so very special.”
The evening, in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, is co-sponsored by Sharsheret, a national nonprofit supporting young Jewish women and their families facing breast cancer, and Myriad, a leader in genetic testing, molecular diagnostics and companion diagnostics. Myriad will offer educational resources and BRCA screening before the baking begins at 7 p.m.
Partners for the event are congregations Ohev Shalom, Ohr HaTorah and Shaare Tefilla, Jewish Family Services, Levine Academy, Nafshi Wellness and the Sephardic Torah Center of Dallas.
As part of this year’s Shabbos Project, community members may help determine personal benefits from genetic testing by taking Myriad’s Hereditary Cancer Quiz at hereditarycancerquiz.com before the Challah Bake.
In less than a minute, the questionnaire recommends or not, moving forward. Dallas-based obstetrician-gynecologist Dr. Alejandro Singer will be conducting preview screenings at the event, and for those for whom recommendation is made, on-site 28-gene Myriad myRisk Hereditary Cancer test will be performed.
For those meeting medical society guidelines, most insurance companies cover genetic testing at 100 percent. Once testing is completed, participants will be notified with an opt-out if payment is denied meaning no unexpected costs.
As Ashkenazi Jews register in a higher risk category, they should be aware of family history. BRCA screenings and annual mammograms for women with a family history of breast cancer – and with the consultation of personal doctors — for women 35 and older are encouraged, Myriad literature states. Those interested in testing should bring their medical insurance information.
“Knowledge is power, and we hope through events such as these we can provide knowledge, testing and answers. For many, and for men it’s just as important as women, this testing is life-saving,” Myriad spokesman Ron Rogers said. “We recommend everyone speak to their physicians, that physicians bring the conversation and questions to their patients, and that family history be a conversation. The power of genetics and testing can make all the difference.”
The Challah Bake will open with a video message by Rabbi Dr Warren Goldstein, the Chief Rabbi of South Africa, and a montage about the history of the Shabbos Project and Challah Bake.
Participating groups of friends and family are encouraged to RSVP together, and each table will have enough ingredients for each person to make their own challah dough. Rebbetzin Ruckie Sionit, of the Sephardic Torah Center will direct how to make the challah and explain the significance of making challah together and the power that it generates as Jewish women.
“I’m honored to participate in this inspiring evening, as making challah is a special mitzvah given to women and has been passed down over the generations, through the upheavals and migrations of Jews throughout the world,” Sionit said. “Separating challah while we are preparing it enforces our faith in the Almighty, ultimately opening the gates of blessings into our homes.”
While waiting for the challah to rise, Nikki Friedman, co-director of the Nafshi Wellness organization that integrates Jewish and holistic principles to enhance emotional, physical, intellectual and spiritual wellness, will speak about the power of positivity and self-care. Also, Beth Broodo, Jewish Family Service program director and clinician for breast cancer support services, will share her personal experience and information about JFS’ related services.
Once the challah has risen, bakers will braid the dough, sing songs and dance in the spirit of Shabbos – the challahs to be taken home to bake.
“On a Kabalistic level, Shabbos is a time and space that was created by G-d for us,” Broodo said. “Lighting the candles, families enjoying challah and celebrating Shabbos together can move mountains spiritually.”
Online registration is available at bit.ly/2IHdSLK. Tickets are $5, and all supplies are included. For more information, or to register to participate in a Shabbos Project, visit dallasshabbatproject.com