Born in South Africa, the project has now spread to thousands of cities worldwide and is run by tens of thousands of dedicated volunteer partners on the ground.
The concept is simple: Jews from all walks of life, from across the spectrum – religious, secular and traditional, young and old, from all corners of the world – unite to experience one full Shabbat together, in full accordance with Jewish law.
The project was introduced in South Africa in 2013 to astonishing effect, and in the days that followed, the Jewish world heard, and was inspired by, how the majority of the community kept Shabbat in full, and how Jews were brought together in unprecedented ways.
The wholehearted embrace of The Shabbat Project by Jews from across every conceivable divide – language, culture, background, geography, level of observance – demonstrated in the most graphic fashion the depth of the connection between the Jewish people and Shabbat.
The Shabbat Project is about creating a new Jewish future based on Jewish unity, pride and values. The Shabbat Project transcends the barriers that seem to separate us. It is our opportunity to rejuvenate family and community life, restore Jewish pride and identity, and strengthen Jewish unity across the globe.
I think this initiative will bring us all closer to G-d – even those who are shomer Shabbos will feel that extra kedusha. Ultimately, it will unite us as Am Yisrael.