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Shabbos Project - three steps to global reach

  • top2015 RELIGION
The incredible global adoption of Chief Rabbi Warren Goldstein’s initiative found itself at "home" this year with its full-scale roll-out in Israel for the first time. "I am writing this from The Shabbos Project global call centre in Tel Aviv, where calls are being fielded in eight languages from 550 cities in 70 countries around the world," Rabbi Goldstein told Jewish Report on the Wednesday prior.
by ANT KATZ | Jan 01, 2016

The unrivalled religious news event of 2015 was The Shabbos Project. The other contenders were the Sinai Indaba and Limmud SA - both huge successes in 2015, but also-rans in the year that the winner became truly global - and even based its operational call centre in the Holy Land.

The Shabbos Project is an innovative and singular initiative of SA Chief Rabbi Dr Warren Goldstein which started in 2013 in South Africa with the idea of creating a greater awareness of Shabbat. For one Shabbat, people - generally targeted at the non-frum Orthodox community - were asked to sign up to be more observant than usual.

The Shabbos Project 2015 logoThe commitment could be simply to attend shul if it wasn’t a regular practice, or to walk to shul if one usually drove - all the way up to being completely observant for a day. It was non-prescriptive beyond being “more” observant and aware of Shabbat.

RIGHT: The 2015 logo of
The Shabbos Project

The event also includes mass challah bakes in all participating communities. 

In 2013 it was a South African-only event, but before it even started the Office of the Chief Rabbi was receiving communication and visitation from Jewish communities around the world who wanted to emulate what was being done in SA.

Chief Rabbi 15-HOMEIn 2014, the majority of countries in the Diaspora participated. Even to big kahuna of the Diaspora, the US was bowled over with the idea. Many communities in the US and Canadian cities and towns, participated.

Chief Rabbi Warren Goldstein

In 2015, however, The Shabbos Project really earned its stripes when communities throughout Israel became involved too. The Shabbos Project’s global call centre was in Tel Aviv. Due to the now-global nature of the Project, call centre operators fielded questions 24/6, in eight languages.

They were coming in from over 550 cities in some 70 countries around the world and over one million Jews had signed their pledge to be more observant for one Shabbat.


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  • For the benefit of our many non-Jewish readers: Shabbat, also known as Shabbos or Sabbath is the traditional day of rest. It is celebrated every Saturday – or, more correctly – from sunset on Friday to an hour after sunset on Saturday. It is a chance to spend time with our communities, with our families, or even just spend reflective time with ourselves. It is a time to recharge our physical and spiritual batteries. At the conclusion of Shabbat each week the transitional Havdallah verses and blessings are recited, giving us the opportunity to take the beauty and holiness of Shabbat with us into the rest of the week.


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