Chabad’s Challah Bake increases breast cancer awareness, raises funds

| 19 Oct 2021 | 03:53

Women from across Orange County gathered for a “Pink Mega Challah Bake” in honor of breast cancer awareness month.

Hosted at the scenic Rosmarin’s Pavilion in Monroe, over 100 women joined together to bake challah from scratch in the “pink spirit.” Hosted by Chabad of Orange County, led by Rabbi Pesach and Chana Burston, proceeds from the event will be donated to the non-for-profit organization, Sharsheret.

The “Pink” event was highlighted with meaningful and informative messages from local breast cancer survivors, Suzy Merin of Goshen and Janice Spencer of Monroe.

“Knowledge is power,” Suzy Merin explained, “Your gene composition used to define your future but with medical technology and research advances, you can alter the outcome!”

Suzy shared her story of surviving breast cancer, and her daughter’s recent journey in which she underwent preventative surgery to avoid a similar diagnosis.

“Years later – in an odd way, I look at my cancer experience as a blessing. I no longer sweat the small stuff and have learned to keep things in perspective.”

Suzy is active in the national non-for-profit organization Sharsheret.

“The breast and ovarian cancer organization that helps women and their families is an amazing group that was there for my family every step of the way. From peer support to genetic conversations to supplying drain holders and mastectomy pillows – Sharsheret supported my daughter as she recovered.”

Janice Spencer offered practical advice based on her breast cancer journey of how to support a friend going through treatments.

“If you offer to help in some way, usually the person in need of help will not have the courage to call on you for what they need,” she explained. “Instead, simply initiate helping in any way you can – drop off a meal, grocery shop or the like. Your actions will go far.”

Pink aprons were put on and the baking began, directed by Chana Burston.

“The Mitzvah of Challah has been a strong tradition passed down for thousands of years, mystically linked to bring abundant blessings, especially of health and livelihood” said Chana Burston, who greeted the large crowd and acknowledged the vast community effort put forth to make the event a success. Chana presented gifts to the event chairs – Anita Reich of Monroe and Suzy Merin of Goshen, as well as to guest speaker Janice Spencer of Monroe.

Chana explained the important tradition of making a blessing and separating a portion of dough, commemorating the portion of dough given to the priests in the times of the Holy Temple. Mother and daughter Harriet Goldsmith of Middletown and Dr. Ellen Solomon of Goshen led the crowd in the blessing of “Hafrashat Challah (separation of the challah).”