I have often wondered how the quintessential day of rest so quickly mushroomed into a day of confirmed global unity and spiritual exhilaration for the masses. The Shabbos Project is a weekend that has successfully unified Jews across oceans and continents, colourful cultures and diverse backgrounds, bringing Jews together in grand pink challah bakes and to sample one another’s’ aromatic delicacies. How wise G-d was to foresee this glorious outcome when he blessed us with a day of rest to restore calm to the mania that has become the accepted norm for the weekday of the modern man.
Kudos to Chief Rabbi Dr Goldstein who has successfully brought that plan to life, manifesting the grand vision that G-d had for his children, way back then in the garden of Eden. The Shabbos Project is hands down the most well received spiritual endeavour to grace our techno times and has generated an astounding response the world over. To date, well over a million Jews have participated in the project and the numbers continue to climb as people gain interest through fabulous tales of epic dinners in Johannesburg’s leafy green suburbs or bear witness to how families have been reunited through the snowball effect of the project and watch in amazement as many a searching Jew is reconnected back to his sacred roots. The domino effect of the project is simply exponential and awe inspiring.
I remember the night the project was launched at the Sinai Indaba of 2013, just a few months prior to the event taking off with unprecedented success. I recall that, many were doubtful, few believed it could ever galvanise the kind of response that it did, but all agreed that the final figures spoke for themselves.
The feedback just poured in, from anywhere and everywhere. The truth is… it wasn’t just any kind of feedback. It was authentic feedback, a novelty these days. It was so authentic that it unnerved the bystanders. People spoke their truths, their veils were down, and the stakes were high. It stripped people of their spiritual inhibitions and of their fears of being labelled the weird religious one. It made the non-participants the “weirdos,” the “uncool kids,” “the apathetics.”
Jewish unity is a robust force to be reckoned with…a magnanimous power that has challenged the mightiest of forces. It has built cities and temples, created vibrant communities; it has won wars and sustained man in the darkest of times. But when Jewish unity is reached through times of light, it is all the more energising and iridescent.
The Shabbos Project is just that kind of unity. First, it tickles the spiritual taste buds, then it boggles the rational mind, but ultimately it stirs the soul to connect with that sacrosanct temple has been inextricably woven into the spiritual fibres of each and every Jew, but is often ignored amidst the chaos of our busy lives. It is the part of us that mirrors the divine spark in the other as it refracts the G-dly soul that has been carefully sewn into the grandeur of the Jewish tapestry.
The Shabbos Project invites us to tap into that unified magic; it gently urges us to remember our holy roots, to realign ourselves to our mission and to refocus ourselves on our path, as we march forward into the most epic narrative of all time as the beloved children of G-d.
Shira Druion is Joburg born and raised, she has been a journalist for the past 10 years. She is responsible for marketing/PR and programming for young professionals at Chazak, a prominent outreach organisation in London. She also runs Dramatix, a drama company for children of all ages. When she isn't working, she’s doing yoga or writing her blog, thespicylife.blog