Loaves of Love and Loads of Lessons

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The annual Loaves of Love event was held on November 15th. This was the 7th year with the crowd gathering at Chabad Israel Center in Los Angeles. More than 200 Jewish women from Beverly Hills, Agoura Hills and everywhere in between, came to make two loaves of challah. One loaf is taken home but the second loaf is given to neighbors, colleagues and friends in a gesture of peace and kindness. The event was established in remembrance of Rabbi Gavriel and Rivka Holtzberg, along with the other four victims of the 2008 Mumbai Terrorist Attack.

Round tables filled the shul, along with bowls that held the ingredients to make the best Challah. A few students of the Ohel Chana High School had previously held a Packing Party, with dinner and music, and had spent four hours measuring out the exact ingredients.

The Loaves of Love participants were treated to an elegant dessert buffet. Then the fun began and attendees made their braided loaves from scratch, guided by master baker Lillian Douek. Mrs. Miriam Hildeshaim of Chabad Carthay Circle lead the ladies in prayer and blessings of Hafrashas Challah. People submitted names of those who need blessings, and there was a prayer of support for Paris and for Israel.

Next, Chaya Rivka, a local singer and songwriter, and her sister, Batya Kessler, sang a beautiful and soulful rendition of Shir Hamalot, accompanied by Chaya Rivka on her acoustic guitar.

The program moved on to a discussion with speaker Joyce Azria, creative Director of BCBGeneration. Azria’s father is fashion designer Max Azria, founder of popular design label, BCBG. Joyce Azria shared a powerful message and her perspective on women’s potential in the world today. She spoke about the possibility for increasing religious observance in any career, or stage of life. Azria spoke about her life journey and explained how she has become more religious, despite working in the world of high fashion. Azria remembered how her father, despite travelling extensively, would always return home to be with his family on Shabbat. She acknowledged her role in the fashion world but said she knows how to blend this with her religious values.

The event was on Sunday so everyone had to bake the challah during the week and the smell of the challah brought back memories of the event. “The incredible feedback we received continues to stream in. I am still receiving texts of women who are sharing their feelings of inspiration” said Fayge Yemini.

Loaves of Love was organized by Fayge Yemini, Brocha Yemini,Batya Cohen, Sharon Gomperts, and Danielle Forer. Special thanks to Lillian Douek, Chaya Israily,Gittel Yemini and the students of Ohel Chana High School.