First ever Tidewater Shabbat Project

by | Sep 11, 2015 | What’s Happening

Friday, Oct. 23–Saturday, Oct. 24

Jewish people will gather in hundreds of cities around the world for the international Shabbat Project. The concept is simple: Jews of all walks of life, from across the spectrum—religious, secular and traditional; young and old, from all corners of the globe—uniting to experience one full Shabbat together.

The Shabbat Project is a global, grassroots movement that brings Jews from across the world together to keep one full halachic Shabbat. The initiative was introduced in South Africa in 2013 to dramatic effect. Around 75 percent of the country’s 75,000 Jews kept Shabbat in full, many for the first time, and people of diverse backgrounds and persuasions were brought together in ways not yet seen before.

In 2014, the idea of an international Shabbat Project was born: “One Shabbat celebrated—and kept in full—across the Jewish world, by the entire Jewish people, at the same time.” The global edition met with an astonishing response. An estimated one million Jews in 460 cities and 64 countries around the world took part— not just in unique Shabbat programmes, but in city-wide pre-Shabbat Challah Bakes and post-Shabbat Havdallah Concerts. An untold number observed Shabbat in full for the first time in their lives.

“Even in our most optimistic moments, we could never have imagined the depth and breadth of the response,” says the project’s architect, South Africa’s Chief Rabbi Dr. Warren Goldstein.

“We saw the possibility of transcending all the barriers and differences that seem to separate us,” says Goldstein. “Over the course of just one Shabbat, all of that melted away.