Every Friday for the last few weeks, thousands of Shabbat kits, each including challah, wine, candles, explanatory brochures, and a festive dinner, have been delivered to the homes of Jewish community members across Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and additional FSU countries. This is part of a new and exciting project aimed at bringing the blessing of Shabbat into the homes of every Jewish family and individual.
Following the unprecedented success of the Passover seder night kits, the FJC has launched the new “Shabbat at Home” project to continue bringing Judaism into the homes of FSU Jewry, turning Friday nights into Shabbat. In the Passover project, hundreds of FJC Jewish communities, educational institutions and humanitarian aid projects, together with hundreds of young volunteers, delivered kosher for Passover meals, matzah and wine (together with the seder’s symbolic foods) to the homes of tens of thousands.
The coronavirus epidemic has changed the reality of life in so many aspects. Clearly, the best attitude is to take advantage of the many opportunities revealed by this crisis. Undoubtedly, strengthening the family unit is one of them. Reinforcing the family’s connection to Jewish values is certainly the best way to do so.
The Shabbat project is designed to make sure Judaism doesn’t stay just in the synagogue or JCC, but rather penetrates into every Jewish home, becoming an essential part of life. This is especially important for FSU Jewry, which is still suffering from the aftermath of the forced disconnection from Judaism imposed on it for over 70 years by the communist regime.
“We believe,” says Chief Rabbi of Russia Berel Lazar, “that the beauty of Shabbat is a treasurer awaiting to be reveled. It is packed with Jewish values of love and kindness and brings blessing and harmony into one’s home. This terrible epidemic is cruel, but also gives as great opportunities to redesign our lives differently.”
The Jewish communities have received outstanding feedback and letters thanking them for implementing this blessed initiative. Each parcel arrives in a specially designed boxed, and every couple of weeks it also includes a special gift, such as candlesticks, Challah covers, song booklets and more.