Nov 9, 2013

The Incredible Shabbos Project

I am so impressed and moved by what I've been reading and seeing about the special Shabbos initiative a few weeks ago in South Africa.  It took place on Shabbos parshas Lech Lecha and Yonoson Rosenblum described it as, "An experiment that has no precedent in modern Jewish history. It was called “The Shabbos Project.”
"The idea was simple: Encourage every Jew in South Africa to celebrate one Shabbos. And not just a friendly Shabbos dinner where nonreligious participants would be welcomed even if they drove to their host’s doorstep. Chief Rabbi Warren Goldstein, 42, who has led the South African community since 2005, decided early on that the Shabbos must be observed in its entirety."
“Keeping Shabbos completely was crucial to the success of the Shabbos Project,” explains Rabbi Goldstein. “The kedushah, energy, and emotional power of the experience depends on doing the mitzvah exactly as Hashem instructs. When Torah is diluted, it loses its spiritual power. South Africans like a challenge, and responded to my call to keep Shabbos in all its details accordingly.”
To get some idea of the magnitude of this project see this: The Great Challa Bake about how thousands of women and girls gathered to bake challa.  And take a look at the website with all the information and resources that were made available to South African Jewry: here and be sure to click on "Our Stories" to read the reactions of those who participated, many experiencing Shabbos for the first time.

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