The West Orange Shabbat Project, held on November 16-18, was a huge success. The weekend kicked off with a Thursday evening Challah Bake at the West Orange Shabbat House, attended by nearly 75 people. Rebbetzin Devorah Klar, who runs the Shabbat House with her husband, Rabbi Boruch Klar, spoke about the significance of the powerful mitzvah of challah baking, which provides an opportunity to seek spiritual and physical blessings.
Friday night services took place at both Congregation Ohr Torah and B’nai Shalom, followed by a Friday night Shabbat dinner at B’nai Shalom, catered by Shimon Nissel and attended by nearly 200 people. Among the dinner highlights was a panel discussion with members of the community speaking about their spiritual paths to a Torah-observant lifestyle. One panel participant, the son of two ministers, captivated the audience with his particularly intriguing journey to Judaism.
On Saturday night at Congregation AABJ&D, the Pella singers, otherwise known as the “Jewish Glee,” led a Havdalah ceremony, lively concert with dancing and a competitive game of “Name that Tune.” The Pella singers also performed a cappella throughout Shabbat.
The West Orange Shabbat Project, now in its fourth year, is annually co-chaired by Ira Bloom, Moshe Glick and Larry Rein. “One of the most meaningful aspects of the Shabbat Project is that of unity, bringing together Jews of all different walks of life and backgrounds,” remarked Glick.
One of the goals of this year’s Shabbat Project was to inspire people to participate in a Shabbat experience every week in a more intimate setting at the Shabbat House. Every week, the Shabbat House provides spirited and delicious Friday night and Saturday afternoon Shabbat meals to anyone interested in participating. Some come to experience a Shabbat meal for the first time.
According to Rabbi Klar, “Perhaps not everyone is ready to step into a synagogue, but we can all relate to stopping the craziness of the week and eating, drinking, singing and sharing from the heart with family and friends, old and new—all that is truly important in life in a warm, loving and joyous atmosphere. If we can have such a beautiful experience, why only once a year? Enter Shabbat House. Not the Klars’ house with a lot of Shabbat guests, but a Shabbat House for the community, every Friday night, plus challah baking, communal cooking, live music, Havdalah and so much more.”
For more information about the Shabbat House, or to sign up for a meal, please visit ShabbatHouse.org. The meals are free of charge, although donations are appreciated.