The Jewish community of Mumbai consists of approximately 4 000 people. Around 100 people (approximately 10 families) participated in The Shabbat Project.
More than 20 members of Mumbai’s small Jewish community took part in a Shabbaton prepared by ORT India as part of The Shabbat Project. ORT India Jewish educator Sharon Galsurkar and his wife, Sharona, hosted the event at the ORT Boys’ Hostel, a venue which ensured that those who wanted to observe the day in the traditional way could sleep over and not have to travel the long way home.
Activities started on Friday morning, with Sharona leading the challah making with women of WIZO India. On Thursday 22 October, at The Tifereth Israel Synagogue, a dozen dedicated women gathered to bake challah as a part of the Great Challah Bake. Young WIZO AVIV Sharona Divekar conducted this event with great efficiency. The women baked the challah for their family and their friends, and each family had an intimate Shabbat get-together.
The challah needed for the Shabbat Kiddush in the synagogue was also baked. As a part of the Challah Bake, the women got a Shabbat kit comprising candles, special match boxes with Shabbat Project stickers, Shabbat Project bookmarks and the prayer for candle lighting.
During the event the importance of Shabbat was discussed, Shabbat songs were sung and light refreshments were served to the members. Everybody was enthused by the idea of observing the next 25 hours of Shabbat with the global Jewish community, and the connections spread much warmth and happiness in this small Jewish community.
“Participants, along with Sharon, stayed awake until late reaffirming their dedication to the Creator,” said ORT India national director Benjamin Isaac. In the morning, everyone went to the nearby Magen David Synagogue and those participants who rarely attend synagogue were honoured by being called up to the Torah. The afternoon brought with it more delicious food and plenty of singing, as well as meaningful discussions on different aspects of Judaism.
“It was a good idea to take part in The Shabbat Project,” said Isaac. “I attribute its success to the huge efforts and hard work of Sharon and Sharona.”
This is an excerpt from The Shabbos Project 2015 International Report. To read more about the Shabbat activities of more than 50 other cities worldwide during last year’s Shabbos Project, click here