This year’s Shabbat Project to include a group of mountaineers summiting Kilimanjaro, a Friday night meditative gathering in Long Island held in near-complete darkness, and a lone Jew in Larkana, Pakistan, keeping Shabbat with the rest of the Jewish world.
Established in 2013, this year’s Shabbat Project will include approximately 300 cities and towns in Israel, over 500 cities in the US, and a combined one million Jews in more than 1,000 cities in 98 countries worldwide celebrating Shabbat – together.
The Shabbat Project is a global, grassroots movement that brings Jews from across the world together to keep a single Shabbat, transcending religious affiliation, political persuasion and other arbitrary divides such as age, language and lifestyle.
The project’s call to “Keep it Together” has been particularly welcome in an increasingly polarized political climate.
The initiative was introduced in South Africa in 2013, before going global the following year. Now in its sixth year, the Shabbat Project is firmly established as a greatly anticipated annual highlight of the international Jewish calendar.
This year’s theme is “Stop doing. Start being,” which references the unique opportunity that Shabbat affords people to devote one day to the truly important things that might otherwise get lost in the maelstrom. After all, it’s only one Shabbat. It’s something everyone can do. It’s a digital detox, a chance to practice mindfulness, and appreciate being in the moment.
“The reality is that in our modern age, as a result of the lives we live and lifestyle choices we make, we end up not having the time or the emotional space to devote attention to the things that really matter – personal growth, our families and relationships, our spiritual wellbeing,” says South African Chief Rabbi Dr. Warren Goldstein, Founder and Director of the Shabbat Project. “Shabbat gives us that time and that space, and the results of that can be truly transformative.”
“Crucially, it is the things we cannot do on Shabbat which free us up to do the things we can,” he adds. “Because of the so-called ‘restrictions’ of the day, we actually get a chance to re-engage as families, and revisit and reinvigorate our most important relationships.”
This year’s first time participants include Naypyidaw, Myanmar; Hobart, Tasmania; San Luis, Argentina; Accra, Ghana; and Curaçao, a Dutch Caribbean island.
Among many thousands of events and initiatives being rolled out around the globe:
As part of their “Radical Hospitality” initiative, San Diego have arranged more than 1,000 Shabbat meals at private homes across the county
In Long Island, locals will enjoy Kabbalat Shabbat services, singing in the streets, and a “Dark Tisch” – a Friday night meditative gathering held in near-complete darkness.
Ten cities across the United States are hosting “Pink Challah Bakes” to commemorate Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Around 30 apartment buildings across Santiago, Chile, are hosting Friday night dinners in the lobby to help neighbors get to know each other better.
In Puerto Iguazu, Argentina, the owner of a local backpacker’s lodge is offering free accommodation and meals to anyone who keeps Shabbat.
A popular cigar lounge in Grenoble, southeastern France, is gearing up for an evening of Shabbat-themed improv theatre.
In Sydney, Australia, thousands are expected at a musical Kabbalat Shabbat on Coogee beach.
Kochav Yair, Israel is running a Shabbat-themed, two-day treasure hunt for the town’s kids, followed by a Friday night kiddush laid out on 30 neighborhood streets.
More than a thousand Tel Avivians are sitting down to a Friday night dinner in a shipping hangar at the Tel Aviv Port.
In Johannesburg, the Nachum Segal unity Havdallah Concert is expected to draw close to 8,000 people.
A group of mountaineers summiting Kilimanjaro are pausing for 25 hours to keep Shabbat, 4,000 feet above sea level.
Zuriel Solangi, a lone Jew in Larkana, Pakistan, is joining Faisel Benkhald, a lone Jew in Karachi, in keeping Shabbat with the rest of the Jewish world.
After a difficult year for the US in which deep social fissures have been exposed, communities remain fractured along political lines, and divisions are exacerbated by social media, the Shabbat Project is a chance for American Jewry in particular to take a collective deep breath and enjoy 25 hours of “Keeping it Together”.
The Shabbat Project will be taking place on 26/27 October 2018. To sign up, find out how you can become a partner, or for more info, visit: https://theshabbatproject.org.
Edited by: JV Staff