A decade of the Shabbat Project

by | Nov 28, 2023 | Trending News

Craig Schranz
Tidewater celebrated the 10th anniversary of the Shabbat Project, Nov. 3 – 4, with an abundance of opportunities for unity and inspiration.

The Shabbat Project was conceived by Warren Goldstein, chief rabbi of South Africa, who envisioned Jews across the globe celebrating one Shabbat together. Today, the effort has spread to 1,500 cities across 100 countries. This year’s Shabbat Project, with the theme of “One People, One Community, One Shabbat,” saw record participation with sold-out crowds and amazing reviews by participants.

The weekend in Tidewater began with the Great Tidewater Challah Bake with Darcy Bloch as its long-standing organizer. More than 100 women had the opportunity to make challah and learn about the underlying meaning of this universal tradition with Rebetzin Liba Eisenberg, wife of the new rabbi of B’nai Israel, Rabbi Shlomo Eisenberg.

Friday night began with some special guests, the Traveling Chasidum. They are part of a larger group of friendly and talented Chasidum who travel the country with their families to bring the joy of Judaism through song, dance, and inspirational prayer. Local families hosted five Chassidic families throughout the weekend. The Chassidum led prayer services beginning with a melodic Kabbalat Shabbat service for a packed sanctuary at B’nai Israel Congregation. The uplifting service included brief periods of dancing around the bima as the congregation welcomed in Shabbat. Following the service, 280 people from across Tidewater enjoyed a catered dinner with inspirational remarks by Rabbi Eisenberg who discussed the immeasurable value of Shabbat.

Saturday got started with morning services that had a distinct Chassidic flair, a community kiddush, and group lunches in congregants’ homes. Ladies got together for a Q&A with Rebbetzin Mandel from the Traveling Chassidum to understand more about Chassidic culture and customs. Meanwhile, the men gathered for Shalosh Seudos, the special afternoon meal designed for joyful singing and words of inspiration.

With the conclusion of Shabbat, a Havdalah concert took place at the Sandler Family Campus. The Havdalah ceremony was preceded by Ben Warsaw, an acclaimed pianist from Savannah, who played a selection of Jewish composers in support of Israel. The Traveling Chassidum then energized the crowd with song and dance – lifting the audience both physically and spiritually.

A Shabbat of community unity, inspiration, and joy was experienced by all who participated in any aspect of the weekend.

Organizers of the Shabbat Project hope to continue the energy with further events throughout the year. To learn more, go to www.tidewatershabbatproject.com.