Erev Shabbos ParashasNitzavim Vayelech 5774

Dear Parents,

Shabbos is the birthright of every Jew. No matter how removed from observance and community one may be, the right to celebrate and experience Shabbos is granted to every Jewish person. One of the greatest tragedies to have befallen the Jewish People in the last 200 years, is the decline of Shabbos observance for the vast majority of our brethren.

A unique opportunity has presented itself for each of us to do something meaningful and significant about the lack of Shabbos in our co-religionists’ lives. On Oct. 24-25, the Shabbos of Parashas Noach, Jews around the world are uniting to observe Shabbos in a meaningful and unifying fashion. The Shabbos Project, an outgrowth of the wildly successful project last year in South Africa, is going global. Over 300 cities around the world, Miami included, are participating in this effort to have as many Jews as possible commit to keep an Halachic Shabbos on the same Shabbos.

What does this mean for us? It gives us a chance to rally together to strengthen Shmiras Shabbos, for ourselves, our children, our community and all of Klal Yisrael. Ideally, we should find a person or family, invite them to spend a complete 25 hour Shabbos with us, and turn off the world’s distractions, and turn on the spiritually dazzling world of Shabbos. Help a co-worker, relative, neighbor or friend rise to the challenge of keeping one Shabbos. There is no commitment beyond the one day – this is an occasion to connect and unify Klal Yisrael around our most powerful common bond – Shabbos.

For those who don’t undertake such a role on that Shabbos – there is still much that can be done. Invite a less observant neighbor to walk over for one meal. Devote time to learning the Halachos of Shabbos, involve your children in learning and appreciating more about Shabbos. Put in time and effort to make your Shabbos table truly enjoyable for all your children. Sing more Zemiros, engage your children in questions and riddles about the Parsha and prepare meaningful and relevant Divrei Torah. Make your delicious food a bit more special that week. Organize groups to learn Hilchos Shabbos, focusing on the positive, Oneg (delight) aspects of Shabbos. Women and older girls are encouraged to participate in the Challah Bake set to take place at the MB Convention Center on Thursday evening Oct. 23. (Fathers – be prepared for babysitting that night!)

We are emailing all our families the various flyers and information sheets being disseminated by the local Shabbos Project Committee. Every one of us should take an active role in uplifting the status of Shabbos, and of reaching out to any and every Jew we know, who can gain immeasurably from sharing our devotion to and passion for – Shabbos.

“R’ Levi says: If the Jewish People observe even just one Shabbos properly, Mashiach will come. Why? Because it outweighs all the other Mitzvos” (Midrash Rabba Shemos 25:12)

What could stand us in better stead as we approach the Yamim Noraim than having been proactive in elevating the status of Shabbos and the unity of the Jewish people?

Have a wonderful Shabbos this week, and always,

Rabbi Kalman Baumann

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