Shabbat Together is both a state of mind AND an exciting initiative of Temple Emanu-El. Shabbat Together reaches out to Jews in their 20s and 30s in the north-Atlanta area for a Shabbat dinner experience with me and Rabbi Max.
Last week, Rabbi Max and I brought in Shabbat with ten other young Jews at a home in Dunwoody. As everyone began to arrive, we gathered in the kitchen where people got to know one another, poured a glass of wine, and noshed on some appetizers.
In the tradition of Shabbat Together, we formally began the evening with a moment of gratitude. We passed out quarters and invited each person to share something they were thankful for from last Shabbat to this Shabbat before placing the money into the tzedakah box. We all became closer at that moment as couples (who didn’t necessarily know one another) shared how they were thankful for their spouse after a hard week of work, that their mother received positive news about her health, that they were thankful to finally be able to take a breath in that very moment.
As we moved on to candles, kiddush, ritual hand washing, and challah, we invited guests to join in where they felt comfortable or to try and absorb the moment if they wanted just to listen. We strive to make each ritual accessible with short explanations as well as prayer sheets that provide the Hebrew, transliteration, and English.
The final piece that makes Shabbat Together such a special experience (besides Rabbi Max’s amazing challah recipe) is the Jewish conversation that comes during the meal. We believe that the Shabbat dinner table is exactly the place to mix the everyday with the holy. We bring up topics that relate to the most important issues of our day and look at them through a Jewish lens.
Like I said from the beginning, Shabbat Together is also a state of mind. You too can create these beautiful moments with your family and friends. We have beautiful resource sheets, tips, tricks, and ideas to help make Shabbat dinner a meaningful part of your week.
If you know someone in theirs 20s or 30s who would love to participate in the Shabbat Together experience, please be in touch! The Shabbat table is already full for our February event, but our next dates are March 16, April 6, and May 18.
Remember, there is no ONE way to do Shabbat, but spending a “Shabbat Together” can provide adults, families, and friends with a space to delve deeply into this special 25 hours, and bring the essential questions and topics of life to the dinner table.