OVER 20,000 JEWS GATHER IN SAN DIEGO AS PART OF GLOBAL SHABBAT PROJECT

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ALON DAVID PHOTOGRAPHY

OVER 20,000 JEWS GATHER IN SAN DIEGO AS PART OF GLOBAL SHABBAT PROJECT

 Record-shattering 3rd Annual Shabbat Project gathers over a million Jews of diverse backgrounds in 1,150 cities across 94 countries for events to inspire and unite

SAN DIEGO, Nov. 29 — Following one of the most bitter, divisive and exhausting presidential races in the history of the United States, the Jewish world took a well-deserved collective deep breath on the Shabbat of Nov. 11. More than 20,000 Jews of all walks of life gathered at events – including challah bakes and Shabbat dinners – across San Diego earlier this month as part of The Shabbat Project.

Some 3,000 participants took part in three separate challah bakes and about 12,000 people joined in 1,000 traditional Friday night dinners around the San Diego area.

Michael Mantell, one of The Shabbat Project’s San Diego organizers, said, “When we bring together more than 20,000 in our community and successfully transmit the very personal mind, body and spiritual benefits of turning Friday night and Saturday into Shabbat, we will have accomplished an audacious and meaningful goal. Our hope is that this will extend beyond Nov. 12 and ignite a movement.”

The 2016 global Shabbat Project – now in its third year – outdid its predecessors on all fronts, reaching 1,150 cities in 94 countries around the world, and attracting record numbers of participants. An estimated one million people took part in celebrations on and around the Shabbat of Nov. 11-12 – not just in unique Shabbat programs, but in citywide pre-Shabbat “Challah Bakes” and post-Shabbat “Havdallah Concerts.” To coordinate the global initiative on such a large scale, The Shabbat Project’s head office in Johannesburg worked with some 6,000 global partners.

“The response to this year’s Shabbat Project has been stronger than ever,” said South African Chief Rabbi Dr. Warren Goldstein, founder and director of The Shabbat Project. “It has been so inspiring to see how The Shabbat Project connects with millions of Jews from every kind of background, and how people around the world have worked in partnership to make this a sublime moment of Jewish unity, all centered around Shabbat.”

Goldstein, who recently debuted at 21 on The Jerusalem Post’s “50 Most Influential Jews” list and was dubbed the “Good Shabbos Rabbi,” is driven by a conviction that the two major challenges facing the Jewish world – assimilation and apathy on the one hand, and divisiveness and discord on the other – can be reversed through innovative thinking and “big ideas.”

The Shabbat Projects brought together Jews of diverse backgrounds and persuasions in ways never seen before and many of the participants observed Shabbat in full for the first time in their lives. In the U.S. – from Cleveland to Coconut Creek, Houston to Hoboken, New York to North Druid Hills – there were a total of 543 participating cities. Celebrations in Baltimore and San Diego drew tens of thousands of participants.

“We’ve witnessed an outpouring of emotion across the Jewish world, as Jews from all walks of life have embraced The Shabbat Project, putting aside their differences and gathering together in a spirit of love and unity,” said Goldstein.

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