US/World News

Shabbat Project reaches 1 million+ in 97 countries

(JTA) – More than one million people in 97 countries around the world participated in the 5th annual Shabbat Project.

Some 1,416 cities around the world, up from 1,152 cities last year, held activities surrounding the 25 hours of Shabbat on Oct. 27 and Oct. 28. Some 586 of the participating cities were located in the United States. Another more than 300 cities and small communities throughout Israel participated in the Shabbat Project. Meanwhile, countries such as Mozambique, Cyprus, Paraguay and Venezuela hosted Shabbat Project events for the first time.

“There has been a great outpouring of joy and excitement, with so many people touched in deeply personal ways. Such a visceral reaction demonstrates that the ideas of Jewish unity and Shabbat are compelling to Jews from all walks of life,” said South African Chief Rabbi Dr. Warren Goldstein, the founder and director of The Shabbat Project, in a statement.

Events included: 1,000 Israelis eating dinner in a shipping hanger in Tel Aviv;  3,000 at an open-air musical Kabbalat Shabbat overlooking Australia’s Sydney Harbour Bridge; the lone Jew serving in an army regiment in Abuja, Nigeria who kept Shabbat with the rest of the Jewish world; 750 people at a free block-party Shabbat luncheon served in a parking lot in Toco Hills, Georgia; two South African expats keeping Shabbat together in Amman, Jordan; and hundreds of Jewish teenagers brought together by the EnerJew youth movement to celebrate Shabbat in 40 cities in the Former Soviet Union; the “Dark Tisches” – Friday  night meditative gatherings held in total darkness – in venues across Johannesburg  and Cape Town.

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