May 29, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Some of you had the pleasure of participating in the first annual Shabbos Project that took place in this community several months ago. We were slightly dismayed in the lack of enthusiasm displayed by many when this project was discussed. Some did not understand the need of spreading the word of Shabbos, others felt that it was a threat to their families to invite non-Shomer Shabbos participants into their homes to experience what a Shabbos was all about. People voiced concern of what the effect these non-observant people would have on their own children. Others said that they did not know who to invite. Many said they did not know people who were not Shomer Shabbos. We listened and we were grossly unimpressed.

Just this week we had the opportunity to meet a lady who is not Jewish. Our car battery died in the lot in front of Michael’s on Rte 17. We’d used up our AAA allotment of calls, and called Chaverim. Unfortunately, they were unable to help us. Nina went into Michael’s and asked if anyone had booster cables. A lovely lady came forward and offered to help. She drove a Hummer.

As she set up the cables, Nina chatted with her. She told us that her father owned a garage and believed that his daughter should be able to do everything that a man could do. She was grateful to him that he had taught her so much and then mentioned to Nina that since we were obviously religious we probably wouldn’t understand since she understood that women had very different roles from men in our religion.

Nina explained to her that she had three daughters who were quite self-sufficient, and she was totally shocked. By the end of the conversation we felt as though we had established a new friendship with a very lovely person. Had we had more time we probably would have ended up inviting her to our home with her young 12-year-old daughter so that we could have gotten to know them better. This would have been a common occurrence in Montreal.

Obviously, we would not invite this lady to our home for Shabbos; however, we are sure that many of us have encounters with non-observant Jewish people every day. Do we make an effort to get to know them better? There have got to be neighbors around who are not Shomer Shabbos. Many of our children have teachers who are not Shomer Shabbos in the secular departments of their schools. All of us have business associates who “tolerate” our Shomer Shabbos observances, such as early departures on Fridays or erev a chag or business lunches that must take place in a kosher establishment.

For enthusiasts, there is a vibrant group meeting to plan the next Shabbos Project scheduled for the end of October 2015. It is our hope that this year every shul and organization in the area will work together to make this a huge success.

At a recent Shabbos Project meeting the word “halachic Shabbos” came up. Immediately there was a concern from representatives of the Federation that this would exclude the world of Reform and Conservative Jewish congregations in the area. Not everyone observes Shabbos in the same way. Yet it is our hope that everyone should be respected and honored for whatever they do to make Shabbos special to them. The Shabbos Project should welcome everyone from every walk of life. Observances on every individual level to make a person comfortable can still be a vital part of this experience.

It is our hope that everyone in the community—wearing whatever stripe that they do on their sleeve—can put aside this one Shabbos to make it special for themselves, their families, and anyone they know who has never had this heartening experience.

Anyone interested in becoming part of this amazing project should please go on the following link: www.tinyurl.com/shabbosprojectbergencounty

P.S. We bought a new battery for our car today!

By Rabbi Mordechai and Nina Glick

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