Beginning Friday night, March 2, hundreds of communities across the continent will take part in an historic national Jewish event to celebrate what unifies all Jews — Shabbat. Everyone is invited, declares the National Jewish Outreach Program: singles, couples, families — all ages.
Shabbat Across America and Canada is sure to “turn an ordinary Friday night into something extraordinary,” according to organizers, who rave about the magic of Shabbat. By participating in this continent-wide event, American Jews will not only have the opportunity to experience Shabbat, but will be sharing their experience with tens of thousands of Jews across North America.
No matter what your affiliation or which Shabbat Across America or Shabbat Across Canada location you choose to attend, NJOP’s annual Shabbat program promises to give you a “taste” of Shabbat. Explanatory services, traditional rituals, delicious meals, and lively discussions are all important components of the Shabbat experience, as is the opportunity to spend the evening with like-minded people, friends and family.
Catherine Laughlin of the Patch spoke to program director Larry Greenman, whose group, the National Jewish Outreach Program, is in its 16th year organizing the expansive event. The idea of the campaign is to take something “that unifies all Jews” and have members “feel they’ve been touched spiritually,” Greenman said. “This marks a time to pull away from emails and the pressures of daily life. Jews can this take time to celebrate with loved ones and recharge,” he said.
More than 500 colleges and synagogues will take part in the medley of traditions across the United States and Canada, with 40,000-50,000 Jews expected to reacquaint themselves, or become familiar with Shabbat services, Greenman said.
“Some Jews have become estranged for whatever reasons, and others might not have had a positive Jewish experience growing up,” he added.
Shabbat Across America or Shabbat Across Canada is for every Jew, and those who are unable to go to a registered location can participate in their own homes or in gatherings with friends/family. For help in creating a Shabbat evening, try one of the resources provided by the National Jewish Outreach Program.