One recent Thursday evening, EMET Outreach held its sixth mother-daughter event of the past year, a Challah Bake at Shaarei Tova Synagogue in Kew Gardens. Nearly 250 women enjoyed an unforgettable evening of emotion, inspiration, and spirituality. Most notably, mothers of Emet’s students got to experience a taste of the organization their daughters rave about.
Emet’s popular Women’s Director, Shira Fendel, organized the Challah Bake, which was led by acclaimed lecturer Rebbetzin Adina Ribacoff. The event included a moving singing performance by Chana Esther Nieberg, and a speech by Mrs. Shari Aminov, principal of Ohr Chana.
Daughters enjoyed showing their mothers the beauty of Torah and mitzvos, which they experience each week at Emet’s programs and classes. Some families were represented by three generations. Student Milana Musayeva said, “Many of us are so busy, we don’t have enough time to spend with family. I enjoyed spending time with my mother and grandmother, especially in a religious atmosphere.” She added, “They finally got to see what Emet is all about. They know how much it’s done for me, but until now they never had a chance to see for themselves.”
Powerful Mitzvah and Prayer
The exquisite event gave ladies a rare chance to be part of a large group performing a mitzvah traditionally done by women, dating back to Sarah Imeinu. As they mixed ingredients and formed and kneaded dough, ladies recited special prayers, with Rebbetzin Ribacoff explaining the specific one represented by each ingredient. Jackie Gavrilov, who recently married a fellow Emet student, shared her experiences with the crowd, and described how Emet has impacted her life. The singing, t’filos, and speakers created an atmosphere in which the spiritual and emotional inspiration was palpable.
Evening of Unity
Shira Fendel, who leads Emet’s weekly Step-It-Up higher-level learning, said, “This was an incredible display of unity and empowerment. The excitement of entering Shabbos with a mitzvah performed by mothers and daughters was a tremendous kiddush Hashem.”
Students helped coordinate the event, with several taking the initiative to purchase Aneini t’filah books and distribute them, and others spending hours setting up each table and its ingredients.
Milana says that for her family, engaging in a Challah Bake has a lot of significance. “Although my mother and grandmother are not observant, they always have traditional Shabbat meals, so this is a mitzvah that they can relate to and connect with.”
In addition to Emet’s dynamic staff, several prominent Kew Gardens Hills residents were in attendance. Their participation made the event a true display of unity, a partnership spanning diverse segments of the Queens community.
Quickly Becoming an Emet Staple
Emet’s mother-daughter programming has become one of its most successful and fastest-growing initiatives. It was spearheaded by students who approached Shira Fendel and asked for a venue to share a taste of the inspiration they experience each week with their mothers. Mira Borukhova and Adina Yakubova took the lead, and these events have quickly exploded with popularity. They’ve held a paint night, a Chanukah m’laveh malkah, a stunning yacht cruise around New York City, as well as other memorable events.
Milana says her mother and grandmother cannot wait for the next one. “They keep asking when another event will happen. They’ve also asked when an Emet-style organization will come along for them. They really enjoy being a part of it.”
Emet Outreach is known for breaking new barriers and redefining Jewish outreach. Staff members build personal connections with students, focus on the positive aspects of a Torah lifestyle, and respond to the personal needs of each student. When students ask for something that will enhance their mitzvah observance and help influence their families, Emet’s staff members think outside the box to come up with creative ways to spread their message and inspire as many people as possible. This has enabled the organization to impact many thousands of Queens residents. Emet’s leaders plan to expand its community programming in the coming year, and hope to create exciting initiatives that will involve different segments of the community. They appreciate the incredible support the Queens community has provided for 14 years, and look forward to a lasting partnership.