By Chaya Silber
[Video below.] “The Shabbos Project” promises to be an opportunity like no other. A rare weekend where tens of thousands of unaffiliated Jews around the world, will, b’ezras Hashem, take part in keeping Shabbos, many for the first time in their lives.
Just one Shabbos – that’s all it takes. As our Sages have taught us, “If all of Klal Yisroel observe one Shabbos, k’tikunah, Ben Dovid will immediately come.”
Last year, on Parshas Noach, October 16, 2013, the South African community, led by their dedicated leader, Chief Rabbi Warren Goldstein, gathered in unprecedented unity, to keep one Shabbos together. After a powerful outreach campaign, over 10,000 Jews from every stripe and religious affiliation undertook a commitment to keep the Shabbos.
And what a Shabbos it was! From the massive challah baking on Thursday, attended by over 3,000 women and girls, to the beautiful shul-wide meals and melodious havdalah, the Shabbos Project was a rousing success.
This year, the Shabbos Project is back – only instead of being confined to one continent, it is, b’ezras Hashem, encompassing the globe. A week after Sukkos, tens of thousands of Jews will keep Shabbos together on Parshas Noach, October 25, in an unprecedented display of unity.
Project Inspire, the world-renowned organization that seeks to inspire ‘regular’ frum yidden to reach out to their less-affiliated brothers and sisters, is taking this one step further. After months of consultation with Roshei Yeshiva and Rabbonim, preparation and scheduling, the “Whom Will You Invite?” project is up and running.
On Shabbos, Parshas Noach, Project Inspire led by Project Inspire’s Brooklyn coordinator, Rabbi Yoni Zakutinsky, will be hosting community Shabbosos in the heart of Flatbush, as well as Monsey, and numerous other communities. These will include Friday night onegs, heartwarming singing, inspirational davening, delectable meals, plus a special havdalah gathering in an outdoor location. The Shabbos will be enhanced by the presence of world-renowned Jewish composers and singers.
So here’s the number one question: “Who will be your guest for Shabbos?”
As Rabbi Yaakov Giniger of Project Inspire explains, “This is a unique opportunity for the average baalebos (or baalebusta) to reach out to his or her less-affiliated co-worker, relative, friend, neighbor, dentist, or just about anyone he or she knows, and invite them for Shabbos. All it takes is one phone call, and a willingness to open one’s home and heart to a fellow Jew.”
With the blessings and support of Rav Shmuel Kamenetsky Shlit”a, and under the leadership and guidance of Rav Yisroel Reisman Shlit”a and Rav Moshe Tuvia Lieff Shlit”a, Project Inspire is working closely with the Rabbonim to encourage their baleibatim to invite less-affiliated yidden they know into their homes. In addition, they will be hosting the various kiruv groups that Project Inspire is also bringing in especially for this momentous Shabbos.
The renowned Torah leaders enthusiastically supporting this Shabbos Project include Rav Aharon Schechter shlit”a, Rav Yisroel Belsky shlit”a, Rav Hillel David shlit”a, and Rav Dovid Cohen shlit”a. These distinguished Rabbonim, along with the Rabbonim of Flatbush, will be encouraging their kehillos to take part in the Shabbos Project.
“The Rabbonim are very enthusiastic about this project,” says Rav Moshe Tuvia Lieff, Rav of Agudas Yisroel Bais Binyomin. “In fact, just today Rav Aharon Schechter Shlit”a expressed to me that this Flatbush Shabbos will be a ‘ribui k’vod Shomayim’ on so many levels.”
Flatbush is renowned as a bastion of Torah, a budding community of Bnei Torah and baalebatim, who are active in building yeshivos, supporting Torah institutions and spearheading many renowned chesed initiatives. It is only logical that support for “Just One Shabbos” should be most enthusiastic in this unique community under the leadership of Project Inspire’s Brooklyn coordinator, Rabbi Yoni Zakutinsky. This was the vision of Mr. Isaac Gross of Flatbush who saw the potential power that this project can bring to Flatbush.
“I think it’s a twofold experience,” Rabbi Lieff expressed. “On one hand, we’re reaching out to unaffiliated friends and neighbors, helping them experience a real Shabbos in the heart of Flatbush, with the participation of all the Rabbonim. This is a community wide project, with the encouragement and support of every sector.”
“The second part of what makes this project so beautiful is that we will have the opportunity to involve our children in kiruv. It’s incredible to see, for example, a fifteen year old boy who is suddenly an expert on hilchos Shabbos, and will guide his guests, sharing insights and inspiration with tremendous maturity. What a lesson we are imparting to our families by opening our homes to those who never really had the opportunity to connect in a meaningful way.”
Who should people invite? Anyone they know who is Jewish who would benefit from experiencing an authentic Shabbos. This could be the neighbor next door, the water meter reader, a long-lost cousin, a business associate, or the newspaper boy. Just take the initiative, mention the Shabbos Project, and invite them into your home, on Parshas Noach, October 25th.
Don’t be left out in the cold.
CLICK BELOW TO SEE A VIDEO MESSAGE FROM RAV MOSHE TUVIA LIEFF: