On March 13, nearly a year to the day after Temple Beth El of Charlotte, North Carolina, closed due to COVID-19, Rabbi Dusty Klass gathered the congregation’s 900 households for a shared — albeit remote — Jewish experience.

Unable to gather her community for worship, Klass and her colleagues, including operations manager Nathalie Friedlander, invented something new: Challah Day. Volunteers baked over 900 challahs, and others delivered them to the doorstep of every household in the community for enjoying over a Shabbat meal.

Even those who rarely attend synagogue participated. New volunteers took leadership roles; people of different ages and stages initiated new relationships; those who felt only a distant connection to the community and to Jewish practice reported a sense of belonging.

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