The Shabbos Project is a unique, international grassroots Jewish identity movement that unites all Jews to keep one full Shabbat together. The idea originated last year in South Africa, where the majority of the country’s diverse Jewish community joined together to observe a single Shabbat, most for the first time in their lives.
The International Shabbos Project will take place on the Shabbat of 24/25 October 2014 in more than 212 cities and 33 countries around the globe.
By experiencing the magic of Shabbat just once, we can rejuvenate family and community life, restore Jewish pride and identity, and build Jewish unity across the world!
The Shabbos Project rests on five foundations:
At the forefront of The Shabbos Project is the idea of Jewish unity. One of the unique aspects of the initiative is that all factional identities – all denominations, affiliations, ideologies and political differences – are put to the side. The tagline of The Shabbos Project is Keeping it together. As Jews around the world, across divisions and denominations, we will be doing this together. The power of that shared experience is unimaginable.
The Power of Shabbat
Keeping it together is also an allusion to the unique restorative powers – the opportunity for deep physical, emotional and spiritual rejuvenation – that the full Shabbat experience affords. This is especially relevant in a modern world in which we are bombarded with technology and gadgetry. Shabbat enables us to set aside time to revisit and reinvigorate our most important relationships – with G-d, with our families and friends, and with our inner selves. Through Shabbos, we keep it – our lives – together.
A Social Movement
The Shabbos Project is a social movement with Shabbat at its core; a movement that unites Jews all over the world through one common, achievable goal. While The Shabbos Project is coordinated and managed through formal communal organisations and partners, the project is essentially a grassroots movement that is driven by the people for the people.
An Undiluted Experience
The call of The Shabbos Project is to observe an entire halachic Shabbat together. Shabbat has been kept this way for thousands of years. Undoubtedly, it is the undiluted Shabbos experience from which we can draw its full power and inspiration. The pilot in South Africa saw an extraordinary proportion of “first-timers” – far exceeding expectations – responding enthusiastically, perhaps not despite, but because of the challenge. Judging by the level of interest and enthusiasm to date, this phenomenon looks likely to be replicated around the world.
Just One Shabbat
Because this is just one Shabbat, it is very achievable. Dan Ariely, the world-renowned behavioural psychologist (whose conversation with South Africa’s Chief Rabbi Dr Warren Goldstein sparked the idea for The Shabbos Project) explains that people are ready to commit to new projects if they are for a limited duration. People are open to a trial run. Truly, anyone can do this.