Johannesburg, South Africa– The Shabbat Project, an international movement that brings together Jews from around the world to keep one Shabbat, is gearing up for its most important year yet. In the wake of the horrific Hamas terrorist attacks, this year’s message is “Keeping it Together for Israel.” From sundown on Nov. 3 to nightfall on November 4th, participants are invited to keep Shabbat together as a demonstration of Jewish pride and Jewish unity, and a message of solidarity with Israel.
“Our brothers and sisters in Israel are under attack. Lives have been lost, families shattered, and many are suffering the horrors of captivity. These barbaric attacks launched by Hamas were not about borders or political objectives – they target the very existence of the Jewish people,” said Chief Rabbi Dr. Warren Goldstein, Chief Rabbi of South Africa and the founder of the Shabbat Project.
“This war is about who we are and what we stand for – an ongoing attempt to uproot our eternal values and history. We must let the world know that we will not succumb, submit, or forsake our eternal values. It’s no coincidence that Hamas attacked on Shabbat – Shabbat is who we are. It is the very soul of the Jewish people. Therefore, this year’s Shabbat Project is a call for every Jew in every corner of the globe to keep Shabbat from sunset. A sublime moment of global Jewish unity. One people. One heart. One Shabbat.”
Despite the war, Israel will participate in The Shabbat Project as it does every year.
“We will continue to hold events,” said Aharon Ackerman, who runs the project in Israel. “They may look slightly different – in Ofakim, for example, events are being planned in shelters, to protect residents from missile fire and security concerns. But we will continue to move forward.”
“We are in awe of the bravery and strength of the people of Israel,” said Chief Rabbi Goldstein. “We are not only ‘keeping it together for Israel,’ we are keeping it together with Israel.”
Since its inception in South Africa in 2013, The Shabbat Project has grown, under the leadership of Chief Rabbi Goldstein, into a global phenomenon. This year, an estimated one million people, in over 1,500 cities across 100 countries, will participate in various activities such as challah bakes, learning groups, community dinners, Havdalah ceremonies and Shabbatons. In combination with these unity events, The Shabbat Project encourages participants to observe Shabbat – lighting candles, disconnecting from devices, not going to work, enjoying festive family meals, attending synagogue services, and engaging in spiritual reflection.
Some of this year’s specific unity events in North America include:
· A “unity Kiddush” held jointly by five synagogues in Atlanta
· A “Shabbat shuk” and a Shabbat meditation workshop in San Diego, various events expected to reach thousands of Jews across political/religious spectrum
· Multiple open-invitation Shabbat buffets with Kiddush throughout Boca Raton neighborhoods.