South African Chief Rabbi Warren Goldstein started a revolution last October when he introduced "Keeping it Together," a project to have Jews observe the Shabbat together, and received an unprecedented turnout of over 55,000 participants, many observing for the first time.
This Shabbat, the rabbi is planning to take his project global, and he has the Jewish communities of 350 world cities in 35 countries who have already enthusiastically asked to take part.
Arutz Sheva got a chance to speak with the rabbi at Tel Aviv's David Intercontinental Hotel this week ahead of the Shabbat, where Rabbi Goldstein explained about the project.
"The beauty is these communities are all taking responsibility and driving it and owning the project, and obviously from the center we are providing materials...that have been translated into eight languages," reveals the rabbi.
"People have been flooding in, they want to be part of it," he notes, saying that the driving force behind the will to take part is a "deep desire for Jewish unity."
That unity was on display during Operation Protective Edge, the 50-day counter-terror operation in Gaza that began in July, and which the rabbi saw from up-close during a family visit to Israel.
But as he notes, that unity was "forced on us by outside, by the hatred of others." In contrast, keeping the Shabbat together is "unity out of choice, out of love."
The project enjoyed unbelievable success last October among South Africa's largely non-religious Jewish communities, where 3,000 women gathered to bake challah ahead of Shabbat, and thousands more took part in havdallah ceremonies at the conclusion of Shabbat on the streets of South Africa.