WEST ORANGE, NJ — The annual West Orange Shabbat Project, which commenced Thursday, Oct. 25, was part of the worldwide Shabbat Project, which took place in 1,416 cities in 97 countries throughout the world, uniting together Jews from all backgrounds and traditions.
Featured this year was world-renowned speaker Rabbi YY Jacobson, founder of TheYeshiva.net, who is known for his inspirational talks. The weekend included two communitywide challah bakes; Shabbat services and a sold-out dinner with more than 350 participants at the Wilshire Grand; a scholar in residence program at Congregation AABJ&D; a Shabbat luncheon at the Shabbos House; and a Saturday night havdalah program and farbrengen, or Chabad-Lubavitch Hasidic gathering, at the JCC, that was live-streamed globally at https://www.theyeshiva.net/jewish/6022. The Saturday night program took on a more melancholy tone as Jacobson and the crowd of more than 200 commemorated the loss of the 11 Jews in Pittsburgh, who were brutally murdered during Shabbat services at their synagogue that same day.
“We were so fortunate to experience Rabbi YY Jacobson,” said Rabbi Boruch Klar, co-director of The Shabbat House, who helped coordinate the weekend. “He has a remarkable grasp on the human condition, and so adeptly makes Judaism relevant to our everyday challenges.”
Perhaps one of the most significant initiatives at the Shabbat Project this year was the official announcement of Kulanu, a Hebrew school and social network for Jewish children in public school, including those who left yeshiva to attend public school. The new initiative is being driven by Shabbat Project Chairmen Ira Bloom, Moshe Glick, and Larry Rein, and is expected to launch in spring 2019.