What do you get if you take 5,000 people, stir in 9,000 eggs and 13 tons of flour, add hundreds of litres of water and a few thousand cubes of yeast? Answer: a new challah making world record… to mark the Chief Rabbi’s Shabbat UK!
Thursday night’s mass bake off in a specially made marquee in Brent Cross saw participants kitted out with a mixing bowl, baking paper and trays together with special recipe books and aprons.
The exact number of loaves made will forever remain a mystery, but a spokesperson for Shabbat UK said the mammoth feat had earned a Guinness World Record for “most amount of people in the same venue at the same time making bread”.
Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis said: “This was an absolutely extraordinary event. It was a wonderful way to usher in Shabbat UK and we’ll carry that spirit with us through until havdallah.”
Participants came from across the age spectrum. Sarah Ganz, the oldest baker at 101, was accompanied by her daughter, granddaughter and great-granddaughter. She described the gathering as “incredible” and said it was amazing to see so many people coming together under one roof.
As she baked her first challah alongside her mum and sisters, Naomi Greenwood said: “I’m 37 weeks pregnant and I was told it’s a segulah to bake challah for a quick and easy birth Hopefully doing it en masse helped.”
She added: “I didn’t expect to feel so moved by it but the atmosphere was electric and at a time when we’re all concerned about friends and family in Israel it was a comfort to be doing something so positive and a reminder of what it means to be part of a community.”
Organiser of the event said: Great Challah Make Co-chairs said: “It was a truly unbelievable way to start what is going to be a fantastic Shabbat UK weekend. After months of planning and hard work seeing 5,000 men, women and children all under one roof making challah was an unforgettable and record-breaking moment! We would like to give a huge thanks to our 500 volunteers who helped us set up and to everyone who has supported us from the beginning and helped us to make the Great Challah Make happen.”
Challah events also took place in Manchester, Essex, Leeds, Glasgow and Liverpool.
More than 100,000 people are expected to participate in Shabbat UK this year.