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Shabbat reflections from around the world

Lana Wilder

There is a sacred chain stretching back 4 000 years, connecting Jews in the present day with their ancient forebears. In October 2014, I discovered it in a single instant.

Walk of Life

Today, the very idea of “going for a walk” is a radical act of purposeful purposelessness. On Shabbos, it’s just what you do, because you must, but really because you can.

by Simon Shear
Shabbos demons 2 copy

Shabbat isn’t just an expression of our faith in G-d. It’s an expression of G-d’s faith in us.

by Rabbi Dr Samuel Lebens
Adrienne Gold1

As a chronic FOMO sufferer, the idea of Shabbat once filled me with terror. What I didn’t understand was that ceasing to create would make me more creative. That not exerting myself would give me more strength. That being where I am, limited, constrained, here and nowhere else, has alerted me to the boundless joy in my heart and in my life.

by Adrienne Gold
Shais Taub

On Shabbat, away from the constant drone and the deafening din, away from the almost irresistible draw of our screens, unmoored from the continual parade of distractions which characterise the modern age, we come face to face with the world as it is and ourselves as we are. It’s frightening. It’s liberating. And it’s deeply necessary.

by Shais Taub
Digital Overload

These days, our lives seem to be nothing more than a succession of screens – smartphone, laptop, tablet, TV. Shabbat offers us respite – a chance to escape the Matrix, and experience reality in analogue. And for the rest of the week, Google and Apple, the world’s two biggest tech companies, are developing innovative apps to discourage smartphone overuse.

by Simon Apfel
Shabbat on Ibiza

With well over 400 sleek black-marble stores worldwide and die-hard fans as far flung as Tokyo, Sydney, Seoul and New York City, Kooples founder, owner and creative director Alexandre Elicha believes that Shabbat is seriously on-trend.

You’ll find him equally comfortable slipping between front row seats at International Fashion Weeks and his local beit medrash — and here’s how it all began with a magical Shabbat in Ibiza.

by Simon Apfel
A Different Consciousness of Time

This is not a sentimental story about how Shabbat observance immediately made us happier, or even more spiritual – no sound and light show, no fireworks, no revelation on the way to Jerusalem. It’s a story about blessings.

by William Kolbrener
From Kuwait 2 copy

Mark Halawa grew up as a Palestinian in Kuwait, and later discovered he was Jewish, after a chance encounter with a retired philosophy professor and an overwhelmingly powerful Shabbat experience reconnected him to his roots.

by Mark Halawa
Jonathan Safran Foer

The Shabbat Project’s Simon Apfel chatted to celebrated novelist, Jonathan Safran Foer (author of Everything is Illuminated, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, and, most recently, Here I Am), quizzing him about his professed love of Shabbat, social changes wrought by the explosion in technology, and the nature of Jewish identity.

by ​Jonathan Safran Foer& Simon Apfel
Gila Arnold

It starts off like a leisurely waltz. It morphs into a maelstrom of madness. The shopping the cleaning, the preparation. The March of the Menu. At dusk, I approach the candles, pause for a moment to take a breath, and strike the match. Then I walk over to the couch for my favorite moment of the week. Sit down. Lean back. Ahhhhh. There is nothing – nothing at all – like sinking into cushiony heaven after an entire day on your feet. That “Ah Moment”, to me, epitomizes Shabbat.

by Gila Arnold
Simon Shear

A Chassid, a Yeshiva University alumnus and a South African backpacker whose Jewish identity was forged from Woody Allen films meet at the Western Wall. Their chance encounter “felt like a conversation between brothers that had begun thousands of years ago”.

by Simon Shear
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