Welcome, Guest! - or
Easy to remember!  »  VinNews.com

Johannesburg - Thousands Of South Africa's Jews Join for Country-Wide Shabbos Project (video)

Published on: October 16, 2013 12:03 PM
Change text size Text Size  
More then 3,000 women and girls gathered Oct. 10, 2013 to make their own challah at the Great Street Challah BakeMore then 3,000 women and girls gathered Oct. 10, 2013 to make their own challah at the Great Street Challah Bake

Johannesburg - A unique initiative launched by South Africa’s chief rabbi designed to unite Jews all across the country surpassed organizers’ expectations, as an estimated 10,000 participants gathered last weekend for a country-wide Shabbos observance.

The Shabbos Project - Keeping it Together, as described by Rabbi Dr. Warren Goldstein, chief rabbi of South Africa, was a mass effort for the country’s Jews to embrace their heritage with a traditional Shabbos observance lasting from sundown on October 11th until nightfall on October 12th.

The project’s manifesto urged Jewish South Africans to remove themselves from the distractions and pressures of daily life and to keep one Shabbos according to the strictures set out in the Shulchan Aruch.

Advertisement:

In preparation for the event, The Shabbos Project’s website offered numerous resources, including a Shabbos primer for those who are new to Shabbos observance and a Shabbos toolkit which included a Shabbos checklist, audio clips of prayers and zemiros, stories and divrei Torah.  The site also offered participants the opportunity to find a shiur, a coach and a Shabbos host.

The event began with on Thursday evening with 3,000 women and girls gathering to make their own challah at the Great Street Challah Bake, according to Laurence Horwitz of Mama, a creative agency that was involved in coordinating The Shabbos Project.

“We closed off a street in Glenhazel, in the heart of Jewish South Africa,” Horwitz told VIN News.  “We prepared tables with all the ingredients and each participant had a bowl with pre-measured flour, oil, eggs and everything they needed.  They mixed the challah and everyone took challah together, made the bracha together and then took their challahs home to bake them.”

The Challah Bake, which was described by The Shabbos Project’s event page as “a sublime moment of Jewish pride and unity,” featured an address by Israeli lecturer Rabanit Yemima Mizrachi.  According to the event’s Facebook page, over two tons of flour were sifted in advance of the Challah Bake.

Approximately 90 percent of South Africa’s synagogues joined in The Shabbos Project, according to Horwitz.

“There were many participating shuls in Johannesburg and Capetown and even shuls that are full on Friday night were fuller than they normally are, looking more like they do on Yom Kippur than on any Friday night,” said Horwitz.

While many of the weekend’s participants were not Orthodox, for 25 hours, they did their best to keep Shabbos according to halacha.

“Amazingly, the shul’s parking lots were empty and many kept a whole Shabbos for the first time,” observed Horwitz.  “They kept asking us technical questions, like how to keep tea warm.  It was phenomenal and went way beyond our wildest expectations.”

According to Horwitz practically every Shul in South Africa ran programs and dinners as part of The Shabbos Project, whose goal was to turn people on to Shabbos observance not by giving them a small taste of Shabbos but by immersing them completely in an entire Shabbos with all that it entails.  Horwitz credited South Africa’s many rabbis for doing their part to share the beauty of Shabbos.

“Just about every Shul had programs and dinners,” said Horwitz.  “In Stanton, one of the biggest centers of Jewish life in South Africa, you couldn’t even get a hotel room because so many people came in for this.  The rabbis really ran with this and the next steps are crucial.”

Yeshiva University president, Richard Joel was one of many who came to South Africa to share in the unique experience.

“Throughout South Africa, the splendor of Shabbos was on display this past weekend as thousands heeded the Chief Rabbi’s invitation to make Shabbos their own,” said Joel.

Singer Shlomo Katz flew in from Israel to take part in The Shabbos Project, performing at a free open air Havdala concert.  Katz estimated that approximately 5,000 people were present for Havdala.

“It was one of the most incredible moments that I have ever been privileged to witness in my life,” said Katz.  “The simplicity of the outreach and the achdus were amazing. There were no gimmicks, no ulterior motives besides the yidden of South Africa keeping Shabbos together.”

Despite having been away from their cell phones and other distractions over Shabbos, Katz noted that as Havdala came, people were in no rush to reconnect with their devices or get back to their normal routines.

“No one was itching to get back to anything,” remarked Katz.  “They were just living in the moment.”



More of today's headlines

Rome - The head of Rome's Jewish community praised protesters who blocked the funeral of a convicted Nazi war criminal as Italy marked on Wednesday the 70th anniversary... Lebanon - An alleged avian Israeli agent has been captured in Lebanon, Hezbollah's Al-Manar TV station reported on Wednesday. The eagle was captured by amateur...

 

Total14

Read Comments (14)  —  Post Yours »

1

 Oct 16, 2013 at 12:14 PM Toychen Says:

Just beautiful!!!

2

 Oct 16, 2013 at 12:30 PM krauszefraim Says:

What a nice sight to see. Look what achdas can do. I hope to one day see it in NYC.

3

 Oct 16, 2013 at 12:12 PM Reb Yid Says:

Although the Jewish community has been slowly declining in numbers, Torah is relatively strong compared to other places. 80% of the population identifies as "Orthodox" and the intermarriage rate is 7%.

4

 Oct 16, 2013 at 03:09 PM NeveAliza Says:

I've seen a number of Rabbi Goldstein's pre-Yom Tov videos. They're excellent.

5

 Oct 16, 2013 at 02:28 PM yaakov doe Says:

The fact that there is a Chief Rabbi and an organized community may be the reason that there's less assimilation than here in the US. The South African Jewish community has it's origins in a large Litvish immigration in the late 1800's.

Rabbi Goldstein sends out an audio dvar Torah each week to all who sign up to receive it.

6

 Oct 16, 2013 at 02:39 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #3  
Reb Yid Says:

Although the Jewish community has been slowly declining in numbers, Torah is relatively strong compared to other places. 80% of the population identifies as "Orthodox" and the intermarriage rate is 7%.

I assure you 80% of the population is NOT Orthodox according to YOUR standards Reb Yid.

7

 Oct 16, 2013 at 02:34 PM DoctorD Says:

Although this is a seldom if not rare occurance, this piece almost brought me to tears.
Why? because I recently recieved a youtube link where reform/conservative Jews are celebrating Shabbos with song and live music on Friday night. That pained me tremendously. To then see these EREV shabbos pictures (unlike the other Shabbos one) is extremely poignant. and no, their numbers did not count into the thousands, b"H.

8

 Oct 16, 2013 at 02:46 PM PashutehYid Says:

Amazing.

9

 Oct 16, 2013 at 05:45 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #7  
DoctorD Says:

Although this is a seldom if not rare occurance, this piece almost brought me to tears.
Why? because I recently recieved a youtube link where reform/conservative Jews are celebrating Shabbos with song and live music on Friday night. That pained me tremendously. To then see these EREV shabbos pictures (unlike the other Shabbos one) is extremely poignant. and no, their numbers did not count into the thousands, b"H.

"That pained me tremendously."

To see Yidden who don't think and act EXACTLY as you, pained you tremendously, you must be a very intollerant person.

Better they celebrate shabbos in their own way, then not celebrate it at all.

10

 Oct 17, 2013 at 08:01 AM I_Am_Me Says:

Absolutely wonderful! Kol hakavod!! I wish every country could do this!!!

11

 Oct 17, 2013 at 12:00 AM Shabbos Kodesh Says:

If all Jews keep one Shabbos, Mashiach will come. This event certainly brought Mashiach closer. Let's all try to learn from this show of achdus.

12

 Oct 17, 2013 at 02:43 PM grandpajoe Says:

Reply to #7  
DoctorD Says:

Although this is a seldom if not rare occurance, this piece almost brought me to tears.
Why? because I recently recieved a youtube link where reform/conservative Jews are celebrating Shabbos with song and live music on Friday night. That pained me tremendously. To then see these EREV shabbos pictures (unlike the other Shabbos one) is extremely poignant. and no, their numbers did not count into the thousands, b"H.

Reform, conservative - reformative - I agree with #9 - they celebrated a shabbos - they at least realize that there is a shabbos - Your type of thinking is wrong - Hitler Yemach Shemom didn't care reform, conservative, orthodox - we have to be open minded - they can do their thing and we can do ours.

13

 Oct 19, 2013 at 06:08 PM basyisroel11 Says:

Reply to #6  
Anonymous Says:

I assure you 80% of the population is NOT Orthodox according to YOUR standards Reb Yid.

"While many of the weekend’s participants were not Orthodox, for 25 hours, they did their best to keep Shabbos according to halacha."
I think the writer should be more factual. An outright majority of South African Jews are Orthodox and majority of those that kept shabbos were Orthodox. One can be Orthodox and not yet frum... they are obviously still growing in their Yiddishkeit and they acknowledge that keeping Shabbos is from the Torah, yet they are not on the level yet to keep it. If they were not Orthodox they would not consider keeping a halachic Shabbos at all, I read the S.A. Progressive movements statement on the project and they said "Progressive Judaism recognises that different Jews keep Shabbat differently. For some, Shabbat might include a hike on the mountain, some gardening or skyping with family in London on Friday night. For others it includes driving to shul, to Shabbat dinner or to the beach for a sunset" [source is Beit Emanuel's website "shabbos project- progressive response]
Frum Jews can learn good middos from even the not-yet-frum South Africans,

14

 Oct 27, 2013 at 09:09 AM annie Says:

Baruch HaShem!!! This article is so encouraging to all of us around the world!! You encourage all of us to do the same!!! Thank you Holy Women of Johannesburg!!!

The pictures were so wonderful to see... Everything about your event charges all of us women out here to do the same!!! Thank you...Baruch HaShem

We pray, Please HaShem, may it go viral!! Quickly and in our day!!!

15

Sign-in to post a comment

Click here to sign-in.

Scroll Up
Advertisements:
Sell your scrap gold and broken jewelry and earn hard cash sell gold today!