The Lithuanian Jewish Community’s Shabbos Project event on Thursday, November 10, attracted a large number of participants including a majority of young people.
The event was held in the large space behind the Bagel Shop on the first floor.
Mainly girls and women but also a few young men took up stations around a number of tables preset with ingredients and mixing bowls. Different tables had different dominant languages. The largest group pushed two tables together, and spoke mainly English with some Hebrew, members and friends of the Lithuanian Jewish Student Union mainly in their 20s. United States ambassador to Lithuania Anne Hall and LJC chairwoman Faina Kukliansky shared a table with staff from the Bagel Shop. Another table conversed in Russian, another in Lithuanian, and children and younger people predominated at a normal and a small table near the back, including several students from the Sholem Aleichem Gymnasium.
From the stage a presentation of challa and the Sabbath was provided, including a symbolic lighting of the Sabbath candles. A Sabbath song was performed by the cantor of the Choral Synagogue accompanied by violin. Rabbi Shimson Izakson was on hand for the entire event as well.
Actual bread-making commenced with the delivery of large lumps of activated wet yeast to the tables. After mixing and kneading, participants enjoyed snacks in the Bagel Shop as the dough rose. During the intermission two girls from Sholem Aleichem took turns reading short personal descriptions of the Sabbath by a number of people not present, including non-religious Jews.
MC and organizer Dovilė also used the intermission to call for a “flour war” at the small kids table near the back, if parents were inclined to let their children participate. Most of the children there did, and the floor and many coats on the coat-rack soon featured large streaks of white. Some of the younger Israelis continued the flour war when they came back to braid their challa dough. During the second phase a small television crew arrived and filmed a short interview with chairwoman Kukliansky for broadcast on national television.
This was followed by a mass baking in the small oven at the Bagel Shop, during which time visitors sampled wine and chatted in small groups.
The event appeared to have been enjoyable for most participants and fit in well with LJC chairwoman Faina Kukliansky’s revitalization and public outreach efforts at the Community. If it becomes a regular weekly event, it will surely attract larger groups of participants in the future.
Some photos from the evening are available here.