Sea in Shabbat at Bondi

From left: Rabbi Benji Levy, Julia May, Meg Josman, Sam Springer. Photo: Noel Kessel

MORE than 800 people are set to attend an “extraordinary” communal Kabbalat Shabbat as part of the Shabbat Project on Bondi Beach before sundown on November 11.

Local synagogues and organisations including Mizrachi Synagogue and Bnei Akiva will be partnering with the Shabbat Project so that participants can enjoy a “moving and musical” experience under the leadership of musical director Sam Weiss and project leader Rabbi Benji Levy.

“It will be a great opportunity for our community to step out of the weekly norm while in keeping with a halachic Shabbat experience,” said Shabbat Project co-chair Daniel Sekers. “It is rare to experience Kabbalat Shabbat outside of a synagogue, let alone on the sands of Bondi.”

Rabbi Levy agreed, “Bondi [Beach] is extraordinary but because we live here, we sometimes treat it ordinarily. Shabbat is extraordinary, but because we celebrate it weekly, we sometimes treat it ordinarily. But Kabbalat Shabbat on Bondi Beach is truly something extraordinary.”

Sekers and Rabbi Levy emphasised that the event is open to the entire community and everyone is welcome, regardless of level of observance or affiliation. Images and video of the event will be shared with other participating cities across the world.

“It’s a great opportunity for everyone to come together as a whole and show our unity in public,” he said. “Its going to be a different experience; it’s certainly going to be something that has never been done before. The location is unique and so is the style and performance.

“A communal Kabbalat Shabbat in Sydney has never been done like this. It’s going to be a physical experience for everyone, inspiring and beautiful.”

The Kabbalat Shabbat is just one of more than 80 events taking place this year as a part of the Shabbat Project. In partnership with more than 50 organisations, events will range from challah bakes to kneidlach cook-offs, from kids’ events to Shabbat dinners.

“The level of interaction we’ve had with the community is actually the largest we’ve ever seen, so we’re expecting that the participation will increase in line with that,” Sekers said.

Rabbi Levy added that everyone that comes to this event will be called on to lead the Shabbat together to “truly make the ordinary extraordinary”.

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