A Special Shabbos in South Africa
This Shabbos, Parashas Lech Lecha, something very special is taking place in South Africa. On the initiative of South Africa’s Chief Rabbi Warren Goldstein, thousands of Jews who have never kept Shabbos before have committed to keeping it in its entirety.
In Rabbi Goldstein’s words, the project is “audacious, bold, never tried before, so powerful yet so simple. On Shabbos Parashas Lech Lecha, October 11-12, all South African Jews will keep one Shabbos together, from sundown on Friday to stars out on Saturday night, following all the halachos as set out in the Code of Jewish Law.”
Ninety percent of South African Jews are affiliated with Orthodoxy. Even those who are not shomrei mitzvos attend Orthodox shuls and send their children to Orthodox schools, all of which are under the auspices of the Chief Rabbi. The South African network of Orthodox shuls and schools became full partners in this noble project, encouraging their members and students to participate.
A full-fledged campaign was launched to promote The Shabbos Project, including billboards and posters throughouts the cities and an official website. Shabbos booklets and toolkits were published, including general information on the beauty and meaning of Shabbos and a step-by-step guide to keeping Shabbos properly, without compromise.
In the weeks preceding this special Shabbos, a great deal of excitement was generated, with thousands signing up to keep this Shabbos.
Surely there will be extra kedushah in the world this Shabbos because of this heightened level of shemiras Shabbos. Perhaps we in the United States can tap into this extra kedushah, enhance our own shemiras Shabbos, and help add to the zechuyos that will bring Moshiach closer.