As many already know, the Baltimore JCC has decided to open its Owings Mills branch on Saturday afternoon, reversing a decision to keep it closed on Shabbos 12 years ago. Our own Rabbi Mordechai Dixler suggested that we think about what we can do to promote thinking about the Sabbath, and new Shabbos observances, here at Torah.org.
Rabbi Ilan Feldman writes that in the wake of a similar decision in Atlanta, “We had 60 people publicly, on the internet, proclaim their personal kabbalos [commitments] for what they would take on to strengthen Shabbos. We formed a team that would examine what could be done to make Shabbos ‘spectacular’: we looked at Kiddush, we looked at davening, we looked at activities in the afternoon, we looked at sharing Shabbos, and we [even] looked at greeting each other on Shabbos… We made some changes, nothing terribly dramatic, but the ‘conversation’ of a being responsible to have a spectacular Shabbos is alive, and we are not finished yet.”
Thinking about using new media to help in this process, Rabbi Dixler turned to Twitter, recognized as a great way to — in extremely brief notes — make new connections, follow your friends’ activities and generally waste time. In all seriousness, technology can be used for the greatest of purposes, and this “social networking” service seems to be an ideal way to exchange thoughts and words of encouragement regarding Shabbos.
So, please join us and follow our newly launched ShabbosTweets. “Tweet” us, to tell us what you are doing to make your Shabbos special. Are you having guests for Shabbos? Serving something extra at the Shabbos meals? Have you made a new commitment, such as lighting candles each week? Sharing what you are doing will encourage others — and that’s the idea behind ShabbosTweets. If you don’t use Twitter, please drop us a line at feedback *at* torah.org, and we’ll post it for you!
After the rally, I expressed to a reporter that Shabbos is “the sign of the Jewish faith and the Jewish people.” Every nation has its flag, its sign, and this is ours. Everyone has something to add. You can add to your Shabbos, and that of others, as well!
Rabbi Yaakov Menken
Director, Project Genesis – Torah.org