Shabbat San Diego to Hold San Diego's Largest Ever Jewish Event

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On the weekend of October 24-25, Shabbat San Diego will be one of 200 Jewish communities in 30 countries on six continents to participate in something that's never been done before on a global scale. Read on to find out what it is.

Our hope is that every Jew, affiliated and non-affiliated, will do a little more this Shabbat than usual, and we would encourage and assist those who wish to try keep a full traditional Shabbat.

From October 23rd through 25th, Jews from all over San Diego County will gather together to celebrate and keep one Shabbat from sundown on Friday night until the stars come out on Saturday night. They will do so as part of an International Shabbat Project, an event taking place that weekend in 200 cities in 30 countries around the world. The intent is to create a greater sense of Jewish community and pride.

Shabbat, the Hebrew word for “Sabbath”, has been marked for thousands of years with family time, shared meals, studying Judaism, and singing. Its purpose is as a day of rest and rejuvenation, although in our modern society it is not always used as such. “We plan to unplug from our computers and phones and plug into Shabbat,” said Selwyn Isakow, one of the organizers of Shabbat San Diego ( “Our hope is that every Jew, affiliated and non-affiliated, will do a little more this Shabbat than usual, and we would encourage and assist those who wish to try a full traditional Shabbat.”

Organizers of Shabbat San Diego hope to have 20,000 or more Jews from all over San Diego County participate in what would be one of the largest Jewish community programs in the history of San Diego.

“This particular Shabbat celebration is an individual act of spiritual, physical and emotional renewal, and participation in local community building, as well as a global expression of Jewish identity and solidarity,” Isakow said.

The program includes two huge community-wide events before and after Shabbat designed to emphasize unity: A communal challah-making, where participants will mix the ingredients and create the braided bread traditionally eaten at Friday night dinner; and a communal candle-lighting ceremony under the stars known as Havdalah, which marks the end of the holy Sabbath, and the beginning of the week. Live music will follow the havdalah ceremony.

Planning for these and other events is currently underway. Organizers are thrilled that so many partners, including temples and other community organizations, have joined up to participate. The event is completely free, but individuals who want to participate or volunteer to help with the planning are asked to sign up at the event’s website,

Shabbat San Diego is a grassroots organization whose mission is to promote Jewish identity and community through the experience of sharing a Shabbat. Jews of all affiliations and those who are unaffiliated are welcome at this event. For more information, visit

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Robyn Lichter
since: 08/2014
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