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The Shabbat Project 2020: a very special year for me

מאת Bat Sheva Benisty ‎
Hadera,

The Shabbat Project 2020 for me was a special and intense adventure. So much to say, on a personnel and professional level.

I have been working at the Shabbat Project since 2015, I have never been as close as this year to the team. This year even if we physically didn't meet so much, we have been so connected to each other, much more than just friends from work.
My father in law was hit badly by the covid-19 virus. For a few months, he was in the hospital, in a coma with oxygen, he had a heart attack… it wasn’t an easy situation to go through.
But I received so much from the team, I never expected to receive so much love, support, prayers… We really moved to be a family. Thank you all!

I also have been closer to the Shabbat Project’s partners, not only close to the project time but also during the year. The Jewish community in France has been strongly affected by the virus. We were talking about the situation in their area, how they are dealing with it, how we can help, we prayed for each other and stayed in touch. I think the virus helped us to be more “human beings” to remind us that to be alive and in good health is not obvious, it’s a real present, we need to appreciate it and thank Hashem for it. We have been praying for each other, from different countries' time zones… The Kaddish initiative was a formal example of it, but much more has happened.
This year we felt unity.

During this uncertain and troubled time, all our stability has been removed, but one thing was here, every week, no matter what, like a strong pillar in a storm: Shabbat!
Shabbat our light, our energy, our landmark in those insecure times. And lucky me I am working for Shabbat. For Shabbat Hagadol, we worked with the Chief Rabbi’s of the world, with a call to all the Jews. We asked to call people who need some support and wish them Shabbat Shalom, we asked from people to light Shabbat candles and by that to bring light to their home and life in this desperate situation and we asked people to make Kiddush by that way to crown the King of Kings.
This year we have done, for the first time, a french guide with Edot Hamizrah and Ashkenazi nossach with transliteration, explanation and step by step. The virus brings me back to the real aim of my job, focusing on Shabbat and to try to bring it to every Jew, at the central point of our life: our home.
This year we felt Shabbat.

Close to the project, I had the chance to “meet” partners not only to speak to them. I had the chance to join many events, to see and feel by myself the energies of the project, to see all the enthusiasm of people joining the events. I have been part of it.
I met Jews from different countries and cities.
This year we felt the connection to Jews around the world.

The Shabbat Project had to adapt itself to the new environment, we thought about solutions for making the Shabbat Project happen even if differently, we proposed a few ideas, our partners were very creative with new concepts such as Shabbat kits & boxes, online games, activities at schools, virtual events…
This year was a new version of The Shabbat Project

Usually, for the Shabbat Project we see big events with hundreds of people coming together around the same Shabbat table, huge halls with women backing Challot together. The pre-Shabbat big events moved to be online but when Shabbat came we were all in our home, an intimate Shabbat table.
This year we felt the magic of Shabbat at a different level

As I said this year was very special, the world has gone through very challenging times, but there have also been positive things, we have gone back to basics to the real important things: Family, joy, unity and Shabbat.

This year we have felt unity
This year we are reminded that we are one people
This year we prayed for each other
This year we have been together
This year we have (re)discovered Shabbat in our home
This year we brought Shabbat home



Bat Sheva Benisty