Over 100,000 members of the U.K. Jewish community participated in an event to mark this year’s ShabbatUK. Inspired by the International Shabbat Project, ShabbatUK is the largest mass participation event organized for the Jewish community in the country.
More than 350 gatherings from Belfast to Brighton took place as part of the initiative, led by Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis. Over 350 communities across the U.K. hosted a range of activities, ranging from Challah Makes to Special Educational Needs events, meaning that there was something for everyone over Shabbos.
Challah Makes were particularly popular, with over 15,000 people taking part in one of the 100 such events known to the ShabbatUK organizers. Between them it is estimated that they made some 50,000 challos!
A special tune for Lecha Dodi, commissioned from the Israeli group Shtar, was taught in Jewish primary schools across the country over the last few weeks. Six-thousand children were involved in making a video recording of the new tune, which was then widely disseminated and used in many shuls last Friday night for the first time.
Over the last two weeks, ShabbatUK, in partnership with Tribe (Young United Synagogue), took an immersive 360-degree dome experience on a tour of the nation’s schools to over 8,000 students, depicting Shabbos through the ages. The dome was brought to primary schools in London, Birmingham, Leeds, Liverpool and Manchester.
On Shabbos itself, events included communal seudos, many with guest speakers, learning programs and much more. Some shuls even wound up the special Shabbos with musical Havdalos to keep the enthusiasm going into the week.