More than 1 million Jewish people are expected to keep Shabbos in 1,500 different cities around the world for the Shabbos Project, which takes place from Nov. 15-16.
Last year, an equal number of people in 101 countries, and 1,511 cities and towns, took part in the project. Organizers believe that they will have a higher number this year since cities in Meknes, Morocco; Kigali, Rwanda; Nahariya, Israel; and Le Grand Mort, France, will also be joining in.
Participating cities will organize challah bakes, family and community dinners, festive prayer services, children’s activities, concerts after the Saturday-night Havdalah ceremony that marks the conclusion of Shabbos and a week-long celebration focused on the traditions of Shabbos.
A mindfulness-and-meditation challah bake will also take place this year in Mexico City, as will “pink challah bakes” to raise breast cancer awareness in 20-plus U.S. cities. Also on tap is an attempt in Melbourne, Australia, to break the Guinness World Record for the world’s longest challah, according to The Jerusalem Post.
The theme of this year’s project is “Jump Together” in light of the rising tide of anti-Semitism around the world. Last year’s Pittsburgh synagogue massacre on Oct. 27—the deadliest anti-Semitic attack in U.S. history—happened on the same weekend as the Shabbat Project.
“We must not let our Jewish identity be defined by the evils of anti-Semitism. Our strongest and most powerful response to the darkness of Halle [Germany], Pittsburgh, Poway [Southern California] and other recent inhuman attacks is to boldly spread light in the world—to redouble our humanity and inspire a more uplifting Jewish identity,” said South African Chief Rabbi Dr. Warren Goldstein, founder and director of the Shabbat Project.
As he emphasized: “We cannot be intimidated or paralyzed by the darkness. We mourn and we pray, but we are not defeated or afraid.”