The Chief Rabbi’s ShabbatUK
The Chief Rabbi’s ShabbatUK is a truly ground breaking initiative that seeks to promote active engagement with Shabbat throughout the UK.
At its core, ShabbatUK is about harnessing all the goodness and uniqueness of a traditional, authentic Shabbat and inviting Jews around the country to celebrate it in a way they never have before. Shabbat is a central part of what it is to be Jewish. Its uplifting and transformative qualities play a crucial role in producing a stronger sense of Jewish identity and belonging.
Inspired by the South African ‘Shabbos Project’, the Chief Rabbi has succeeded in mobilising thousands of Jews across the UK – regardless of their level of religious observance – to celebrate Shabbatot unlike any other. The first two ShabbatUK weekends, held in 2014 and 2015 respectively, met with enormous success, piquing the interest of both the national press and the Prime Minister, who could appreciate the universal appeal of family-bonding and ‘digital detox.’ The weekend’s festivities usually commence on the Thursday with mass ‘Challah Makes’ in various locations , entail creative programming, uplifting services and communal meals and culminate in a huge Havdallah concert to welcome in the new week. Synagogues, Jewish schools and other Jewish organisations across the UK organise individual series of events to mark the weekend.
Through these events, the Chief Rabbi’s quest for unity and shared purpose has found full expression, aligning British Jewry with common values. Everybody can participate in ShabbatUK, from the most observant Jews to those who may have never experienced the beauty of a Shabbat. It has the power to transform the lives of many thousands of people through connecting them with Shabbat, and through Shabbat, with their communities. It is about reaching out to people and inspiring communities. Some will keep Shabbat, perhaps for the first time, others will participate in the numerous communal events taking place. Many will find ways to bring Shabbat into their homes, whether by lighting Friday night candles, blessing their children or by inviting others into their home to share the Shabbat experience. The possibilities are endless.
ShabbatUK is an incredible opportunity to join with Jews around the world to celebrate the Jewish day of rest, disconnecting from the daily grind to experience it in a profound and meaningful way.