The Shabbos Project is a worldwide Jewish unity initiative that was founded in South Africa last year. It encourages all Jews from across the spectrum to observe one Shabbat at the same time in a show of unity.
More than 350 cities worldwide will participate in this initiative, including those in South Florida from Oct. 24-25.
“There are going to be hundreds of thousands of people throughout the world participating in this initiative and South Florida, which has over half a million Jews living in Dade, Broward and Palm Beach Counties, is a primary Jewish community and we’d like to participate in a big way,” said Alyssa Baumgarten, a member of the South Florida Shabbos Project team that has worked together to bring the initiative locally.
The South Florida events kick off with The Great Big Challah Bake on Oct. 23 at the Miami Beach Convention Center, 1901 Convention Center Drive, Hall B, for women and girls ages 11 and up. The event starts at 7 p.m. with doors opening at 6 p.m. Guests speakers are Rebbetzin Chani Lipskar of The Shul of Bal Harbour in Surfside and Tila Falic Levi, a challah expert. Visit http://www.tiny.cc/floridashabbos to register or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
This initiative is also getting participation from local high school student Alix Klein, who attends the Rabbi Alexander S. Gross Hebrew Academy in Miami Beach and is vice president of the NCSY Miami Beach chapter board. NCSY is an Orthodox youth organization affiliated with Orthodox Union. Alix, 16, is working along with her mother, Leah Klein, and NCSY professionals to bring high school students to Miami Beach for a Shabbaton this weekend.
“I’m Orthodox and I keep Shabbos all the time but I think that through my experience with NCSY, I learned that even a teen who’s young like me in high school can really make a difference to other teens and even to adults,” Klein said.
Leah is proud of her daughter for her effort and described it as “very empowering.”
“I’m also very happy that NCSY is such an incredible partner and that they encourage kids like Alix and a lot of other kids to not only take a leadership role but to participate in this kind of event,” Leah added.
Palm Beach Synagogue will also host a Shabbaton with three traditional catered Shabbat meals, singing, inspirational words, and psychologist Dr. Lisa Aiken as scholar-in-residence.
Rabbi Moshe Scheiner of Palm Beach Synagogue said the attendees will experience “that Shabbat is a day that stimulates the mind, warms the heart and inspires the soul.”
Aiken said, “I am very excited to be speaking at this synagogue as a scholar in residence for the fourth time. I think very highly of the rabbi and rebbetzin and their congregation. It is also a wonderful opportunity for me to be part of the Shabbos Project.”
The Downtown Jewish Center Chabad in Fort Lauderdale will also host a Shabbat weekend as well as other local institutions. Visit theshabbosproject.org for more information on the local events or to register for them. Also visit http://www.facebook.com/theshabbosprojectflorida for more information on local events.