In a heartwarming display of community spirit, a group of local men and women with a shared love for baking have come together to show their support for Israel after the atrocities of October 7. Their initiative, aptly named ‘Baked B’Ahava’ (meaning ‘Baked with Love’), started as an idea amongst three friends- Avital Zeffren, Rivki Locker, and Ilana Weiss, who wanted to channel their love of baking into a way to help Israel. Over the past three weeks, the friends’ small bake sale has transformed into a full-scale community event and has generated over $3,500 for various charities in Israel.
When the war broke out, Zeffren was inspired by seeing businesses selling items and donating some of the profits to charities in Israel. She posted on her Facebook page that she was making and selling challah for Shabbat and would give 100% of the money to charity. Her friends Rivki and Ilana decided they wanted in too, posting their mouthwatering sourdough breads for sale as well. This was the beginning of Baked B’Ahava, and the three continued to work tirelessly for the cause, crafting a mouthwatering array of baked goods which they posted for sale on local social media groups. “Within minutes, all of our items were sold, and other local friends were asking if they could bake and sell too! We now have a WhatApp group with over 65 participants where we post each person’s bakes throughout the week. The one rule our group has is that 100% of each baker’s sales goes to tzedakah and that each baker covers their own costs,” says Zeffren.
The trio felt a calling to make a difference in the lives of those suffering in Israel, including IDF soldiers on the front lines, as well as families who have been displaced from their homes and lives. They were also inspired into action by Cherry Hill natives Alise and Ken Panitch and Jerry and Shelly Abramson, who have been on the ground in Israel, selflessly organizing important supply collections and raising critical funds to support those in need since the war began. Locker says, “it just feels good to do something, even if it's just a small drop in the bucket, to feel a little less helpless. Plus, I've been having a very hard time sleeping with all the horrors going on, so it gives me something productive to do at 4:30 in the morning…..having people message me to tell me how much they and their families are enjoying my bread makes me feel connected and reminds me that I'm part of a wonderful community of people who are also trying to do their part to help this cause.”
Encouraged by the support they received and the impact they had already made, the bakers decided to turn their bake sale into a recurring weekly event for as long as needed. The bakes change every week, as does the choice of charity, but the passion and mission stays the same. Baked B’Ahava now includes 16 local bakers who are more than happy to participate in this beautiful Mitzvah (good deed) and more are asking to join every day. Suzie Lubin and her daughter Lyla (6th Grade) baked seven trays of brownies in week two for the cause. “We feel that if there are ways to support soldiers in Israel from here and actually feel like we are making a difference, then that is the least we can do. Not only are we doing something for Israel, but those who buy and enjoy our goodies have the ability to do their part too by giving tzedakah.”
This is an inspiring reminder that even small, grassroots efforts can have a significant impact. The delicious treats not only satisfy the taste buds in Cherry Hill but also nourish the souls of those in need in Israel, making a positive change in the world, one loaf at a time.
Questions? Please contact Avital Zeffren at email@example.com or join the Whatsapp group where all the 'bakes' are posted daily.