Key to their freedom: symbolic shlissel challah event raises more than £4,500

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Key to their freedom: symbolic shlissel challah event raises more than £4,500

200 women bake in support of the Hostages and Missing Families Forum UK

The Hostages and Missing Families Forum UK brought together 200 women to bake shlissel challah (challah in the shape of a key) to call for the release of the hostages held in Gaza.

The event on Thursday, which initially planned for 133 women to represent the number of hostages, drew an outpouring of community support, raising more than £4,500 with more donations still coming in.

The event was spearheaded by Nivi Feldman of The Hostages and Missing Families Forum UK, who said: “We wanted to bring 133 women together to do the mitzvah of hafrashat challah (separating the challah), blessing for the return of each and every hostage individually. We hope the shlissel challah is a key to our success in bringing everyone home safely.”

She added: “With 300kg of dough being chilled, we managed to set the fridge alarm off.”

Pic: Nivi Feldman

Attendees received guidance on how to braid the challah from Tami Isaacs Pearce, known as “The Challah Queen” from Karma Bread.

Pearce said: “The gathering of all these women, with one intent, to see the hostages freed was incredibly powerful and emotional. It was such an honour to share my love of challah and the profound meaning it has in my life. I am blown away by the organisation and the absolute commitment from Nivi. They moved mountains to make the event happen.”

Challah by IDF Reservist Zalman Rabin who survived injury in Gaza

Shira Jackson from the United Synagogue’s Ma’ayan program said: “We’re the living proof of an ancient promise that God made to Abraham, that his descendants will miraculously survive everything the world throws at them, and not only survive but thrive!

Sharna Kingsley hugging Anita Siegel Zehavi cousin of hostage Keith Samuel Siegal Pic: Nivi Feldman

“The energy and the warmth of the shared emotions in the room was palpable; there’s an intrinsic connection between us all and we feel it when we come together.”

Shlissel challah committee member, Natasha Goodman said: “We are so grateful to everyone who supported and attended the event. Thank you to all the volunteers behind the scenes for making it possible. The unity and generosity shown by our community is a testament to the strength of our shared hope to bring our loved ones home.”

Each attendee was given a key with a yellow ribbon tied to it. They removed the ribbon and placed the key in the challah and were encouraged to take the ribbon and place it somewhere as part of the on going #Tieayellowribbon campaign.

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