With just over 24 hours to go until the much-vaunted "Shabbos Protect," which will see Jews from all walks of life across the world – secular and religious alike – unite to keep Shabbat this week, Arutz Sheva spoke to the initiative's founder, South African Chief Rabbi Warren Goldstein, who hailed the initiative's meteoric success over the course of just two years.
The Shabbos project began in 2013 in South Africa, but by the next year it had become a worldwide phenomenon, with Jewish communities in more than 465 cities worldwide taking part, with the help of some 1,800 partner organizations.
This year promises to be an even greater success, with more than 550 cities and over 5,000 partner organizations involved.
Some of that is down to an increased participation by Israeli Jews, he said; the southern Israeli municipality of Ashkelon alone is holding 14 separate events.
The key, says Rabbi Goldstein, is the Jewish people's desire for national unity – a message which resonates particularly now given the difficult situation in Israel.
Religious and secular Israeli youth movements have joined forces to hold unity events throughout the country, he said.
"There's a wonderful atmosphere of unity that's taking place. That's especially important at a time like this when the situation in Israel is so difficult – to remember that we are all together.
But it is also about a "natural thirst" for Jewish heritage among Israeli and Diaspora Jews alike.
"There is a natural desire and a natural thirst for the Shabbos Project and everything it stands for, and so it has a natural and beautiful energy."