I am already Shomer Shabbos! Why should I be involved with the Los Angeles Shabbat Project?
Dr. Aviva Weisbord
You and your family have been going on vacation every year to a place of spectacular beauty. You relax, enjoy the scenery, actually talk with your children, and revisit your favorite sites. You look forward to your next trip. One year, your cousin’s family joins you on this special vacation, and you have the pleasure of showing them around, sharing the highlights of this location, reveling in their awe and delight, and renewing your own pleasure.
Suddenly, you come across a magnificent garden you’ve never seen before. “Are we so used to coming here that we simply didn’t notice this?” you ask yourself. You begin to see this place through the eyes of the newcomers, with a freshness and clarity that previously eluded you because you had taken it all for granted.
Shabbos comes every week – Baruch Hashem! – and we treasure what it brings along with it: special family time with zemiros, divrei Torah, and catching up with each other; the opportunity to disconnect from the outside world and remind ourselves of our priorities and purpose; renewing our connection to the Borei Olam and His world. After years and years of keeping Shabbos, our appreciation for the gifts it brings us may diminish just a bit.
Enter The Shabbat Project. It’s a crazy idea to do the impossible: Get one million Jews to keep one particular Shabbos. Last year, over one million Jews all over the world, in 1150 cities and 95 countries, shared an achdus and commitment to have a Shabbos that, as Rabbi Warren Goldstein, the founder of the International Shabbat Project, puts it, “offers us the time and space to renew our inner selves and to revisit and reinvigorate our most important relationships.”
Whether we’ve been keeping Shabbos since birth or discovered its magnificence later in life, the vision of over ONE MILLION of us doing this together is a powerful, uplifting experience. The Rebbe of Karlin famously said, “Master of the Universe, I have fish for Shabbos. I have challah for Shabbos. But where do I get SHABBOS for Shabbos?”
It’s so easy to let our Shabbos become routine, even a bit stale. The Shabbat Project gives us a push to revitalize our Shabbos, perhaps by adding a feature to the Shabbos seudah such as a parshah riddle, or committing to using our best utensils for the Shabbos table, or simply looking at Shabbos with a freshness and appreciation that may have dimmed over the years under the pressures of life.
You don’t need to be a kiruv expert to share your love for Shabbos this year, to have your “cousins” visit your special place. Here are some of the many ways you can contribute to this extraordinary project:
- Women and girls can attend the Great Los Angeles Challah Bakes at Adas Torah, Shalhevet High School, Nessah Synagogue, or Chabad of Palisades to name a few. Please check out our Facebook page The Shabbos Project – Los Angeles and our website org/la for more information on all of the challah bake events, as well as Shabbos Project gatherings. It is suggested to use Uber or Lyft for the Adas and Shalhevet Challah Bakes since parking is extremely limited near the two events. Invite a co-worker, friend, or family member who might not yet be aware of this powerful experience.
- Join in the Shabbat Project 5000 Friday Night Dinner Experience on Pico. It is slated to be the world’s largest Shabbat dinner ever! Be a part of it by visiting the Pico Dinner website at com to purchase tickets for the amazing evening of Jewish unity. Please do not wait to order your tickets, as ticket prices will increase as we get closer to the actual date of the event.
- Help your synagogue or school participate in the project by creating special projects or events around Shabbat, like oneg Shabbos gatherings, or kumsitz get-togethers.
- Help arrange a community Shabbos meal. Get together with some of your neighbors to host a group meal. Laugh, sing, and enjoy camaraderie with the people who are closest to you…geographically at least.
- Host an individual or family for the entire Shabbos. Help someone who has not yet discovered the beauty of an immersive Shabbos experience see how powerful and transformative it can be.
- Invite someone new to your Shabbos table. Have that new neighbor who you have been meaning to introduce yourself to. Have that guy at shul you sit near but have never gotten to know. Move out of your comfort zone and invite someone who is not part of your regular rotation.
- Learn two or three halachos of Shabbos with a chavrusa beginning that Shabbos, Parshas Lech Lecha.
Rabbi Goldstein reminds us that “Shabbos can hold us together in a society where everything seems to be pulling us apart.” On October 27-28th, Parshas Lech Lecha, infuse YOUR Shabbos with extra meaning by participating with our entire community in the Los Angeles Shabbat Project. You can make a big difference in someone’s life…and in your own.
Shabbat Can Do That.