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Shabbos Project still an inspiration to many

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South Africa was the first country to spearhead the Shabbos Project. Since then, it has spread to more than 100 countries and hundreds of cities across the globe. Indeed, it’s a remarkable phenomenon!
by Michele Engelberg, Johannesburg | Nov 28, 2019

Some people believe the Shabbos Project has lost its novelty. I can sympathise with that. Being on the committee of a longstanding shul, it’s challenging to come up with programmes, speakers, and so on, every year for the Shabbos Project, particularly since it’s so soon after the Jewish High Holidays of Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Sukkot, culminating in a leibedik (festive) Simchat Torah. It seems like a new Yom Tov has been invented on the heels of so many others.

But when I read the stories about the lives the Shabbos Project has touched in so many parts of the world where Jews are not connected to their Judaism, it astounds me! To read about a Jewish woman, married to a non-Jewish man in Arizona, who are keeping Shabbos, and he is on a conversion programme, is truly touching. That’s exactly what the Shabbos Project is about.

For centuries, we Jews have had (and continue to have) a plethora of Jewish holidays throughout the year. Nearly every month we’ve got a Yom Tov, Purim, Chanukah, fast, or some other commemoration. We are rich in history, tradition, and symbolism. Yet, so many unaffiliated or unobservant Jews don’t observe Jewish festivals and commemorative days. They don’t keep Shabbos or go to shul regularly. Many of them drive to shul on Yom Kippur. And yet, they keep Shabbos on the Shabbos Project!

We may not realise it, but the Shabbos Project continues to touch and inspire Jews all around the globe. Therefore, it must go on. 

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