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The Shabbat Project Oct 23-25, 2015 in Stamford,CT

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The Shabbat Project: Making History



As the sun dips below the horizon on October 23, Jews in CT will be joining an estimated one million people worldwide who will be participating in this extraordinary initiative.


Paula Abdul and The Big Bang Theory’s Mayim Bialik have joined Nobel Prize laureates, international sports stars, a US vice-presidential candidate and Jews of every nationality, ethnicity and level of observance who, in less than a week, will be uniting in 340 cities across the globe for what might just be the most extraordinary Shabbat in Jewish history…

In Melbourne, a sociology professor from Monash University has undertaken an in-depth study of the city’s Jewish community to focus efforts, while scores of committees and subcommittees are ensuring the initiative reaches every last Jew in the state of Victoria. An estimated 50% of the 60,000-strong community are expected to take part.

In Buenos Aires, where every single Jewish community organization, school and synagogue in the city has signed up, more than ten thousand people are expected at an enormous Havdallah Unity Concert which has been put together with the help of the Argentinian government, and which will be broadcast on national television.

In Miami, a crack team have perfected a revolutionary recipe for a Thursday night Challah Bake expected to draw thousands, while a local high-school pupil is bringing hundreds of fellow high-school students from across South Florida to Miami Beach for one gargantuan shabbaton, and a local Chabad rabbi has set up a big tent on the premises of his shul, and is offering lavish Shabbat meals for anyone in his zip code pledging to keep that Shabbat.

In Canada – where even Prime Minister Stephen Harper is endorsing the initiative – posters are appearing in subway stations in Toronto, while an enormous neon billboard has recently gone up in New York’s Times Square.

Poster ads will also be emblazoned on hundreds of Egged busses and on busy highways and byways across Israel, where the local team have just launched the #Keeping it Together app – packed with all anyone needs to know about keeping Shabbat, and programmed to put users’ phones to sleep over Shabbat. Meanwhile, the Rami Levy supermarket chain will be offering a “challah for a shekel, wine for five shekels” special this week.

So far, over 60,000 words of support material have been adapted into Ashkenaz, Sepharad and Ari versions, and translated into English, Hebrew, Russian, Spanish, German French, Italian and Portuguese. A recent print run of an “Unofficial guide” to keeping Shabbat and a Shabbat “Toolkit” (which you might have seen at your local synagogue over Yom Kippur) may have been one of the biggest in Jewish history.

The project’s website has received 14 million hits since the beginning of the year, and this past Friday, as many as 8,000 people tried signing up at one time, crashing the server. 

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Fri, June 9 2023 20 Sivan 5783