The annual Shabbat Project is set to take place this weekend, with over one million people registered to observe the Jewish sabbath in communal gatherings across the globe.
By Joseph Wolkin
Launched in 2013, the Shabbat Project has attracted participants in 1,400 cities in 98 different nations. This weekend’s initiative aims to get Jewish people to celebrate the day of rest by giving them a chance to unite with other Jews and unplug for 25 hours.
“We have so many labels and things which divide us from each other,” said the project’s architect, South Africa’s Chief Rabbi Dr. Warren Goldstein. “The Shabbat Project is all about Jewish unity. It’s a very powerful statement.”
The project’s tagline, “keeping it together,” is meant to transcend “the barriers that divide us. It’s our opportunity to renew family and community life, restore Jewish identity, and unite Jews across the globe.”
Thanks to the project’s international growth, there will be different activities held on Shabbat in hundreds of communities. From Challah bakes before sunset on Friday to Shabbat meals throughout the sabbath, the event unites members of the Jewish community across the globe.
In San Diego, there will be more than 1,000 Shabbat meals at homes across the city. In the days leading up to Shabbat this weekend, 10 American cities hosted “Pink Challah Bakes” to commemorate Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Rabbi Goldstein stressed that the project is meant for Jews of any observance level, including those who are not observant at all.
“The Shabbat Project has [multiple] dimensions,” Goldstein said. “The events — challah bakes, havdallah concerts, Shabbat meals — all the different elements of celebration. That’s an important part of the project.”