Jewish woman lights the Shabbat candles 370.
(photo credit: REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic)
More than 6,000 families up and down the country took part in Shabbat meals in
an initiative to build community connections, with religious families hosting
Started by the Beit Hillel national-religious
rabbinical association, friends, neighbors, colleagues and acquaintances
attended meals together as part of the organizations attempts to create societal
bridges between the religious and secular sectors.
Among the participants
were several public figures including Education Minister and Rabbi Shai Piron,
Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi David Lau, former chairman of the Jewish Agency and Mayor
of Ra’anana Ze’ev Bielski, singer Kobi Oz and Energy and Water Minister Silvan
Meretz head Zehava Gal-On, Yesh Atid MKs Aliza Lavie and Adi Kol,
and MK Zvulun Kalfa of Bayit Yehudi also took part.
Beit Hillel said that
it received more than 2,000 requests from families either wishing to host or
seeking to be hosted for a meal over the weekend.
Among the several
thousand meals which took place in 45 cities and towns around the country, there
were several meals in which large numbers of people participated and which were
held in community centers and synagogue event halls.
plans to make the initiative an annual event.
“This Shabbat was a
starting point,” said the organization’s chairman Rabbi Meir Nehorai.
hope now that people will, by themselves, continue to invite and open their
doors to their neighbors and friends.
“Shabbat is a big common
denominator and it is possible to build bridges and meeting points between us
all. This is one of the most powerful ways to enhance the unity of the nation,”