Chabad of Bradenton and Lakewood Ranch holds Mega Challah Bake at the Grove.
Lakewood Ranch 16-year-old Katana Carotti grinned as she and her mother, Bree Goldberg, watched dozens of women join hands and begin to dance joyfully in a circle.
At their tables nearby, they had already kneaded dough for their challah bread and were waiting for it to rise. Soon, they’d be splitting it, rolling it in their hands and braiding the pieces together to form two loaves.
Carotti and Goldberg had never made challah bread before and were relying on the other women at their table for help during the Mega Challah Bake event hosted Jan. 9 by Chabad of Bradenton and Lakewood Ranch at the Grove. About 200 women attended, taking time to share food, make bread, dance and sing.
Women could choose from a variety of toppings for their loaves. Goldberg kept hers plain so Carotti could taste it unaltered.
“I put chocolate chips in it,” Carotti said.
“This whole experience is cool,” she said. “You make with with people who have made it before or people like you who haven’t.”
Carotti had made matzo balls and potato pancakes before, but not challah. In Jewish tradition, it is considered a good deed to separate some of the dough before the challah is baked. Chabad Rabbi Chanie Bukiet said doing so symbolizes that sustenance comes from God and a portion of one’s livelihood should be reserved for giving.