An enticing aroma overtook the outdoor freezing winter temperatures and warmed the air with the delicious smell of freshly made Challah.
Beautifully designed invitations welcomed the guest to the prestigious grand ballroom of the Arailim Banquet Hall. Gala ceremonial white tablecloths decorated the banquet hall. Flour, yeast, baking gloves and all the Challah ingredients were artfully arranged on the tables.
Upon entering the ballroom, each participant received a personal kit which included a songbook, head covering, a user-friendly Challah booklet and a customized apron.
An elegant buffet spread, filled with a variety of Glatt Kosher gourmet cuisine was prepared by the Chabad House Catering Service.
The festive evening was opened by the Master of Ceremonies Gayane Vartinian who proudly introduced the Shliach Of Alma-Ata, Rabbi Elchonon Cohen who blessed the participants with the traditional Birkat Kohanim.
Mrs. Sara Yakubova eloquently explained the Mitzvah of Challah. She emphasized that this Mitzvah has a positive effect on and brings blessings to the entire household.
The participants were inspired by a special video of the Rebbe which expresses the importance of the three commandments especially entrusted to Jewish women.
The Rebbe's saintly father Rabbi Levi Yitzchak Schneerson was exiled to Kazakhstan for keeping the flame of Judaism shining brightly during the dark days of communism and his holy resting place is in Alma Ata. The day of the Rebbe's father's passing and the Hillula-Yohrtzeit is the 20th of Av.
The Rebbe's saintly mother, Rebbetzin Chana Schneerson, voluntarily joined her husband in Kazakhstan during those difficult painful years, despite the danger.
The Rebbe explains that the name Chana is an acronym of the three commandments which are especially entrusted to the Jewish woman. The first letter of the name Chana is the Hebrew letter "Chet" which is the first letter of Challah. As such it was a special honor for the participants to perform this holy Mitzvah in Alma-Ata.
Four young Jewish students treated the crowd to a heartwarming special Shabbat dance presentation. The team of the four talented dancers : Luisa Manto, Susana Matayeva, Devorie and Dini Cohen.
The women prepared the dough guided by the culinary expert Mrs. Manana Ben Moshe. The symbolic meaning of each ingredient was explained and Mrs. Ruth Zakshever described how this commandment was fulfilled during the times of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem.
While the Challah dough was rising, the crowd was treated to a special guest singer who flew in from Israel for the occasion. The acclaimed vocalist and singer Mrs. Leah Dror inspired the crowd with her masterful music and song, sharing her fascinating personal life story and her journey to a Jewish life of Torah and Mitzvot.
As the Challah dough has successfully risen, Shlucha Mrs. Leah Cohen led the participants in the special blessing which is made at the moment of Hafrashat Challah.
The atmosphere was uplifting and electrifying, as each woman recited her blessing and utilized the auspicious moment for praying for all the blessings for herself and her family.
The participants were thankful to the Shluchos and organizers Mrs. Leah Cohen, Mrs. Yehudis Cohen, Mrs. Mina Leah Liberow and Mrs. Manana Ben Moshe.
The participants went home inspired and uplifted knowing that our merciful father in heaven hears our prayers and with trust that he will grant each Challah baker their prayers, with joy, health, happiness, filled with Jewish pride and the ultimate blessing of Moshiach Now!