In September 2015, Justine Kuran hosted a Shabbat dinner for 25 guests. About half were Jewish and half weren't, most had never attended a Shabbat before. Justine's Shabbat dinners are renowned for being warm, large, and inclusive of people from many walks of life. Henry Roth was invited to one of these Shabbat dinners and was invigorated and inspired by the feeling of goodwill that resulted from the evening.
That night and in the days that followed, guests posted photo after photo to their social media sites and they were met with many positive comments from all over the world. It occured to Justine that her Shabbat was unintentionally going viral and in all likliehood, people seeing those posts were seeing and having their very first Jewish experience, one of joy, laughter, food, wine, family and friends. There was an overwhelming feeling of goodwill.
Imagine if we could bottle all that goodwill and share it with the world. If only.
Justine concieved the original concept of Breaking Challah and was immediately joined by Henry Roth as co-Founder.
Global terror attacks are nothing less than horrific. Just when we think humanity as reached a new low, more acts take place that redifine human despair. The recent Paris massacres inspired Justine and Henry to form the inaugural ‘Breaking Challah’, which was held on December 11, 2015.
“I had to get over the feeling of powerlessness, dismay and inability to make a difference. Breaking Challah is born out of the desire to do something positive, to share the traditions of Sabbath with those who have never experienced a Shabbat before. For Jewish families to invite a rich cultural texture of guests to their first Shabbat Friday night table. To do something fun, life affirming and to celebrate humanity. Love must win over hate!”
Henry Roth co- founder Breaking Challah.
‘Breaking Challah is not a charity, nor are any of our events fundraisers.
‘Breaking Challah’ comes from the friendly, peaceful intention of ‘breaking bread’ with strangers. ‘Challah’ is the braided bread that is blessed and eaten by Jews on Shabbat.
As most Jewish families are together for Shabbat, we ask that they do exactly as they normally would, but that they include two or more guests of cultural diversity to their home to share their Jewish traditions – there is no expectation or limitation on the family’s level of Jewish observance, as traditions vary from family to family. We are low on rules and big on mutual respect and equality for all people, for all religions, all cultures all traditions.
'Breaking Challah' is intended to break the cycle of misunderstanding by sharing our food, our traditions and our hospitality, by opening our homes and our hearts to those who otherwise may never have a Jewish experience.
Already we have been buoyed by the fantastic response to this concept, from both the media and the community at large and we have big plans for the future of Breaking Challah.
A concept so simple and requiring so little in terms of extending oneself above and beyond the normal Friday night preparations, can only succeed and we are in it for the long haul. While the Jewish community are on board, Breaking Challah has the very real chance of breaking the generational cycle of mistrust, misunderstanding, hatred and fear in our community.
Going forward, we hope that through word-of-mouth, goodwill and the power of social media, ‘Breaking Challah’ will become an annual, GLOBAL movement that, as a community, we can be incredibly proud of.
Breaking down cultural barriers simply by 'Breaking Challah' together.