More than 1,200 people participated in the April 17 Unity Shabbat candle lighting on Zoom to help set a world record for the largest virtual candle lighting.
“To see the pages and pages of faces on the Zoom screen brought a giant smile to my face,” says Marc Blattner, President and CEO of the Jewish Federation of Greater Portland, which hosted the event. “And to hear everyone wish each other a ’Shabbat Shalom’ at the end of the call was heartwarming.”
Here are comments shared by two participants:
• What a beautiful idea and coming together for our entire Jewish community. Thank you for making us feel we are not alone.
• The work everyone is doing to foster community at this time is truly making a difference. Tonight’s program was a fantastic show of that – the sense of warmth and community connection was palpable … It was very obvious people needed this opportunity to connect and “see” one another.
That warmth and community connection has inspired the Federation to host more virtual Unity Shabbats.
The next Unity Shabbat will be held at 7:30 pm, Friday, May 8, in honor of mothers. Ilene Safyan will lead the music and Community Chaplain Rabbi Barry Cohen will once again lead a brief service.
A special Pride Unity Shabbat is planned for June 12 – the Friday that would have launched Pride Weekend events around Portland. On June 19, the Friday before Father’s Day, a Unity Shabbat candle lighting will be held in honor of fathers.
Registration is required for each event. Register for the Unity Shabbat in honor of moms at