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When the whole world became one

by Daniela Lowinger
Panama City, Panama

This year, more than ever before the feeling was that we are keeping it together. The interaction between communities, cities, countries, even in this pandemic and without the possibility of being together in one place, brought us to reach out more than ever. And we did it! Through zoom we were together in the 4 corners of the world, speaking different languages and having different backgrounds, yet we had the same magic of Shabbat-and that brought all of us together.

In Panama, we decided to invite all the organizations and institutions of the community to be active part of the Shabbat Project. The schools, the organizations connected to chesed, medical attention, security, learning. 46 organizations participated, sending Shabbat messages, giving conferences, learning or promoting something connected to Shabbat. For example: Hatzala decided to study once more the halachot concerning the care given to people on Shabbat. Rabaniot of the community took on themselves to make a program of sending 1 minute videos twice a week regarding how to keep shabbat on the practice-this project will continue throughout the year. The Bet Yaakov School did a contest of poems about Shabbat with their students. Mesiba-an organization that helps decorate smachot for free, gave a workshop on flowers for the Shabbat Table. SAY-an organization for young couples did a workshop on how shabbat brings shalom bait. Jlev did their Shabat Project Pick a Mitzvah, and during the month before the Shabat Project had a wednesday morning " Coffee with the rabanit" in which different topics we taught connected to Shabbat. All schools had classes and projects with the children. The Instituto Alberto Einstein had, for the Shabbat Project a special edition of their weekly newspaper, with 10 pages dedicated to Shabbat, with stories, halachot, etc.. Wizo took on themselves to spread the light of hadlakat nerot-during the whole month messages on the importance and the reward of lighting the Shabbat candles, and how doing so has brought different emotions and thoughts to their members. The Challah Baking was attended by a great number of women, many of the with their children and had the participation of Rebetzin Rochie Pinzon. Since Panama has a long holiday at the beginning of November, the Challah Baking was done on October 29th, yet Panama was also part of the Mega Challah Baking, sharing with its members the information on how to access this incredible project. Classes on what to cook for this special Shabbat were also parts of the project.

The Havdalah was preceded by the video in which members of each one of the organizations of the Kehila participated, mentioning in one word what they represent, making it an invitation to participate via zoom to the Havdalah concert.

Many might think that this Shabbat Project did not allow us to meet in one big hall to make Challah or Havdalah, yet it has given us all the incredible opportunity to connect with partners and communities all over the world, helping, sharing and rejoicing with the unity that we have had this time.