(JTA) — British Prime Minister David Cameron endorsed a Jewish community initiative encouraging Jews to observe their Sabbath.
Cameron issued a statement Wednesday describing the ShabbatUK project — which aims to have as many Jews as possible to observe one particular Shabbat during the year — as “a wonderful Jewish initiative.”
This year’s Shabbat Project will take place on Friday.
The British ShabbatUK, Cameron said, “brings together tens of thousands across our country to celebrate the unity and sense of community that has been a hallmark of Jewish life for generations.” But, he added, it “also has a wider message that speaks to everyone in Britain, because we can all benefit from taking a moment to appreciate the value of family, friends and community life.”
Camreon concluded his message with the words: “I want to wish everyone taking part Shabbat Shalom.”
ShabbatUK is the British variant of the global Shabbat Project – an international drive that began in 2013 in South Africa when thousands of non-observant Jews from that country decided to observe Shabbat together on a set date advertised on social networks.
The following year, thousands of members of Jewish communities from across the world, and especially in Europe, also participated and added activities such as group challah bakes.
In Britain, some 150,000 Jews are expected to participate this year. Jewish groups organized 600 events for this weekend in Britain, including a massive challah bake that organizers hope will make it into the Guinness Book of World Records.
But the British will have competition, as two other challah bakes with hundreds of women are scheduled to take place on Thursday in the Belgian city of Antwerp, which has a large Hasidic population and approximately 20,000 Jews, and in the Parisian suburb of Boulogne-Billancourt.