By Rabbi Ariel Greenberg Platt, co-chair of Baltimore Shabbat Project Havdallah C
Stop. Pause for just a minute. Take a moment to slow your breathing and feel your heartbeat. “Dah Dah. Dah Dah. Dah Dah.” This is your body’s power source. With every beat, your heart charges your body with life. Now, tune in to the people around you. Each and every one of them holds the same power source inside them, whether a family member, friend, acquaintance, neighbor or stranger. “Dah Dah.” The same heartbeat fuels them. We as human beings are united simply by the fact that all of our hearts beat no matter what is going on in the world around us, and will continue to do so as the future unfolds.
Shabbat is the heartbeat of the Jewish People. From the lighting of the Shabbat candles on Friday night, to the lighting of the Havdallah candle on Saturday night, Shabbat is our power source. With every beat, Shabbat spreads an electrical current of renewed life throughout our souls invigorating us for the week ahead. This heartbeat unifies us as the Jewish People, for in Exodus 31:17 G-d tells Moses that Shabbat, “Is a sign between me and the people of Israel forever.”
No matter what is going on in the world around us, regardless of circumstance, and despite our differences, every week Jews all over the world are connected by the power source of the Sabbath.
The LA Shabbos Project is a celebration of this heartbeat that unites us “forever.” Four years ago when the Baltimore Shabbat Project made its debut in partnership with the International Shabbos Project, made its debut in partnership with the International Shabbos Project, Baltimore felt its first initial burst of that Jewish heartbeat. The power of thousands of Jewish people coming together for Shabbat was electrifying throughout the Greater Baltimore Jewish Community. Since then, the beat of the Baltimore Shabbat Project has only gotten stronger. Last year approximately 25,000 people in Baltimore did something that connected them with over a million Jews worldwide for one Shabbat.