Leaders of this weekend’s Shabbat UK programme are expecting at least 350 events to take place throughout the country with venues as widespread as Plymouth, Glasgow and Belfast.
There has also been significant corporate interest with legal firm Clifford Chance organising a Shabbat UK lunch and KPMG, Deloitte, Goldman Sachs, PWC and Bank of America among companies whose employees will participate in challah makes.
Kosher retailers have also entered into the spirit of the celebration with Shabbat UK meal deals.
Chief Ephraim Mirvis says the event affords an opportunity “to celebrate the timeless relevance of our faith and enables us to share uninterrupted quality time with our friends, families and communities. Mealtimes without the distraction of technology are one of its central features.”
To support his point, Rabbi Mirvis highlighted the findings of a survey conducted for Shabbat UK by ComRes among the general population.
Almost 60 per cent of respondents wished they could spend more time with their loved ones free from technological intrusion. Forty-three per cent said their families did not eat together on a regular basis and 61 per cent said they would answer their phone during a family meal. More than 60 per cent kept the television on during dinner and almost a quarter regularly checked digital devices over mealtimes.
“It’s so said to hear of the decline of the family meal because people are glued to their smartphones or tablets,” Rabbi Mirvis observed. “They are missing out on what is really valuable in life.”