THE Jewish community is gearing up for the much-anticipated Shabbat Project, with an array of events planned across the country.
On the Shabbat of October 24/25, Australian Jews are being invited to join tens of thousands around the world in keeping one full Shabbat together, as part of a global initiative that originated in South Africa last year.
To kick off proceedings in Sydney on Thursday, October 23, more than 2000 people are expected to participate in a communal challah bake in Alexandria – led by the ladies of the Monday Morning Cooking Club – which, according to organisers, will be the largest challah bake in Sydney’s history.
In the lead-up to and during the Shabbat, communal organisations will be hosting shared meals, classes, activities for children and social events.
On Saturday, October 25, as one of the first global cities to farewell Shabbat, the community will come together for a havdalah celebration.
There will be a havdalah concert, also held in Alexandria, with students from Emanuel School, Moriah College and Mount Sinai College singing, as well as other musical performances.
In addition, participants will enjoy a night food market and indoor trampolining at Sky Zone.
Project leader Rabbi Benji Levy said: “Havdalah is the single most unifying event that the Shabbat Project is organising – young and old will come together in this closing ceremony with the greatest feeling of unity that we can achieve.
“I urge you to get a ticket now to be part of the best way to conclude this incredible journey! Havdalah will prolong the sweet taste of this unforgettable experience for everyone involved.”
Adam Snoyman, 13, who has signed up to the project, said: “There are so many things I’m excited about, from keeping Shabbat with my family and friends … to making havdalah in a warehouse and then getting to jump at Sky Zone.
“Shabbat will go so quickly when we are all ‘keeping it together’.”
In Melbourne, the Shabbat activities will begin with a challah bake at the Glick’s factory on Thursday, October 23. Individual hosts are signing up and will be inviting friends and family to home Shabbat dinners and kiddushes. Partner communal organisations will join in.
Others are volunteering as “Shabbos coaches”, ready to explain the principles of Shabbat to the uninitiated.
A communal event at Caulfield Park on Saturday night will farewell Shabbat with havdalah and a plethora of activities for young and old.
More than 3000 women took part in a challah bake in Johannesburg last year as part of the Shabbat Project.