May 21, 2015

Kim Tobias: Jewography (Kneading It Together)

by Kim Tobias

The Shabbos Project captured my attention from the minute it was spoken about Erev Rosh Hashanah 2013.

The Chief Rabbi spoke to our community at the Sydenham Highlands North Shul in Johannesburg, South Africa with passion and spark. It immediately resonated with me and I was captivated at the thought of the entire Jewish community of South Africa all keeping a Shabbos together.

How are we going to keep Shabbos together was the question on every secular Jews mind ???

We were stumped, but started making plans. My neighbour asked how we were going to keep the Shabbos weekend, and I said that maybe we should have a Shabbos dinner together. By the time the word was out, our entire neighbourhood started enquiring about joining up with us. 85 neighbours gathered their thoughts and a plan was made to do a candle lit Shabbos dinner under the stars.

We almost knew that if something so magical was about to happen, that Hashem would keep the rain away.

And He did!!!!

2013 will go down in history as the perfect Shabbos evening for families to treasure their Jewishness and heritage.

After that spiritual weekend, I wrote a letter to the chief Rabbi and thanked him for this moment. Also to praise him for initiating such a magical event.

This letter went onto the Shabbos Project website and so many people from around the world started sending me messages and wanting to be part of the Project.

So 2014 Shabbos Project idea to go global started to become a reality. Brainstorming sessions were being held to try encourage Jews around the world to keep the Shabbos together in 2014. I had offered my house as a venue for one of these brainstorming events. Who knew that "my" head would be in the game on that night and an idea popped into my head.

"Why can't we all bake a challah and post it on social media, then nominate friends, family and celebrities around the world to do the same." - Wow!!!! This would be amazing and very instant. Social media is the way to go and get the idea out. It would not cost money for advertising and a quick and easy network of Jewish people around the world.

Little did I imagine that it would take off like a wild fire racing through a dry bush.

Within 7 weeks I lost control of how many people were baking Challahs and posting their stories. They were nominating their friends and feeling so connected to this project. The need to belong to this project became the "hip thing to do".

From Shanghai, China to Sao Paulo, Brazil. From Australia to London. From New York to Tel Aviv. From old age homes to nursery schools. Young and old, generations of women were all baking challahs and showing such pride in their creations over social media.

Plaited and weaved, round and frilly, seeded and gluten-free. It became the rage and the bottom-line ---

It created awareness of the 2014 Global Shabbos Project that was about to erupt.

This idea had such global appeal. Never cost a cent (except bandwidth) and roped in people who ordinarily would never have bought into this concept. They now had bought in and were going to tackle the weekend.


Kim Tobias

Avid lover of The Shabbos Project, Kim Tobias, is a one wonderwoman. Her passion and love for the the Jewish people has inspired and driven her friends, family and the world to embrace The Shabbos Project.

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