On Thursday evening, February 6, the Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) at the Yeshiva of Central Queens organized their annual Challah Bake, bringing members of the Yeshiva and community together to perform the mitzvah of Hafrashas Challah.

Hafrashas Challah is removing a portion of the dough, known as challah, and setting it aside to remind us that whatever we are given is not for our use alone. Whether it is money, wisdom, or good health, we need to remember that it came from Hashem and we should not take it for granted. This mitzvah applies to every Jew. Some believe that it is a s’gulah to bake challah with 40 women as a r’fuah sh’leimah for someone who is ill. This spiritual component is the impetus to YCQ’s Challah Bake and others around the world.

At the PTO event, a crowd of over 100 women, men, and children gathered together to partake in this meaningful mitzvah. For many, it was the first time they would be baking challah; and for others, the first time they would be making the Hafrashas Challah blessing.

Rebeka Boxer, Mrs. Kosher Guru, gave the participants guidance and chizuk through her inspirational story of faith and miracles and of how this mitzvah has brought her closer to Hashem. She discussed the connection between performing the mitzvah of Hafrashas Challah and the miracle of facing difficult obstacles in life by connecting to one’s Yiddishkeit and to Hashem.

When the challah dough was complete, in a meaningful moment, the entire room in unison made the Hafrashas Challah brachah, bringing a spiritual feeling of achdus and understanding. Those in attendance at the YCQ-PTO event, through this mitzvah, received inspiration and a connectedness to Hashem, their Yeshiva, and to klal Yisrael.

Hours of work and organization by the PTO committee (Julie Faska, Rachel Stern, Aliza Peled, Valerie Olsen, Melissa Stock) and those who stayed for hours after to help clean up, went into making this event an experience to remember and to encourage others to continue baking challah and davening to Hashem with kavanah.