The Shabbat Project and Jewish unity

Dear Rabbi Fried, 

I have been hearing about some communitywide Shabbat Project coming up soon and none of my friends seem to know what this is about. Could you please fill me in? Thanks.

Carol P.

Dear Carol, 

The Shabbat Project, being held in Dallas Nov. 13-16, 2019, is part of a global initiative where Jews all across the world are observing one Shabbat together as part of Jewish unity. Approximately 1,500 partnering organizations representing about a million Jews in 340 cities in 101 countries will be participating this year!

In 2013, Chief Rabbi Dr. Warren Goldstein brought the South African Jewish community together to celebrate one Shabbat together. The results were astounding. On the Shabbat on which it ran, nearly 70% of the country’s 75,000 Jews together kept a Shabbat in full, most of them for the first time in their lives. Perhaps as significantly in another way, the initiative drew people together in ways never seen before, forging new friendships and collaborations of Jews of all stripes throughout the community. 

Since then, this amazing experience has gone viral and was adopted by communities throughout the world. 

This initiative has been described as “an experiment that has no precedent in modern Jewish history,” and “the most ambitious Jewish unity initiative ever taken.” 

In the words of Rabbi Goldstein: “It’s about creating a new Jewish future together. The idea is simple; Jews from all walks of life, from across the spectrum of religious affiliation, young and old, from all corners of the world — come together to experience the magic of one full Shabbat kept together. It’s our opportunity to renew family and community life, restore Jewish identity, and unite Jews across the globe.”

In Dallas the events begin with a communitywide challah bake for women, with music, dancing, hands-on challah making instruction and words of inspiration. This exciting evening will be held at Levine Academy, 18011 Hillcrest Road, at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 13. All materials and special aprons will be provided. Everyone will walk away with their own challah to bake! Space is limited; please sign up ASAP at

On Shabbat, Nov. 15-16, various local synagogues will provide home hospitality and meals for those who want to join for a full, magical Shabbat experience. Special speakers will grace some of these programs and will provide fresh and inspirational insights into the beauty of the experience. Contact the Hospitality Committee for local details:

DATA (my organization) will provide a full state-of-the-art Shabbat program featuring the world-renowned Australian lecturer Rabbi Mordechai Becher, and deluxe cuisine by Kosher Palate, at Ohr HaTorah Congregation, 6324 Churchill Way. For more information and to sign up for the meals and events, go to

In the North Eruv, Congregation Ohev Shalom, 6821 McCallum Blvd., will celebrate the the beauty of Shabbos with Scholar-in-Residence Rabbi Aharon Katz, rosh hayeshiva of Derech Etz Chaim Yeshiva in Jerusalem. Meals and hosting are also available. Contact for more details.

Saturday night, Nov. 16, Motzai Shabbat, will feature a communitywide Havdallah service on the Akiba-Yavneh campus, 12324 Merit Drive, Dallas. The free event will feature live music, a
“kumzits,” food from Kosher Palate, and bounce houses for the kids. PJ Library will make Havdallah kits with the kids and TangoTab–Feed the City will lead a community activity making sandwiches for Dallas’ needy residents. The Havdallah service will be highlighted by multi-generational families demonstrating the strength and longevity of the Dallas Jewish community. 

Please join us and the million Jews worldwide who will join hands across oceans, continents and affiliations to make this year’s Dallas Shabbat Project the greatest ever! May it bring our community together in friendship and mutual respect in ways never thought possible! 

For more information, contact 

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