Whether celebrating alone, dining digitally with a virtual gathering, or at strategically planned socially-distanced dinner, OneTable hosts in Colorado have inhaled Shabbat’s message and are using Friday nights to exhale after weeks filled with waves of uncertainty, virtual meetings that bleed into one another, and an often overwhelming sense of “what is happening?” Izzy Klein, a Boulder, CO resident and OneTable host says it perfectly:
“No one could have expected a world pandemic that would completely change our way of life… and I surely would not have expected the ritual of Shabbat to have swooped into my life simultaneously. My anchor during the time of Covid has been gratitude, inward reflection, and nature. I have cultivated these practices in various ways during this time and especially through this ancient tradition. I don’t only love Shabbat for the food and the opportunity to be in community […] I love what it represents: The ritual of pausing and turning inward, of connecting to earth’s natural cycles and resting as the sun goes down, the opportunity to reflect on our lives. Really it may have been a coincidence, but it’s no coincidence that Shabbat showed up in the home during Covid. And for that I’m grateful for OneTable. I look forward to our future and to more of this ritual with my dear friends.”
We’ve been listening to our participants. People are struggling. Some have lost loved ones or know friends who have tested positive. Work is uncertain. We’re mourning the loss of normalcy. Nearly everyone has someone who they desperately want to hug. And yet, human resilience is everywhere, as people connect in new ways and remember what matters most. Now is a time of reckoning, and Shabbat dinner is how many are accessing rhythm and relationship.
We’ve released two research reports that can help us all better understand how to support young adults and the broader community in accessing Jewish life during COVID. These two studies (available here) were separate, but complementary; together they capture the juxtaposition of current events with the optimism for the future.
As of today, OneTable Colorado has had 441 Shabbat dinners in 2020, creating 3,000 seats at the table for Jewish young adults in the community. With a full four months of the year to go, OneTable is eager to continue supporting these meals with resources necessary to nourish the spirituality, wellness, and Jewish identity of our OneTable hosts and their guests.
OneTable empowers people who don’t yet have a consistent Shabbat dinner practice to build one that feels authentic, sustainable, and valuable. OneTable is a national nonprofit funded to support people (21-39ish) looking to find and share this powerful experience. We envision a whole generation of millennials slowing down, joining together, unplugging from the week, creating intention in their lives, and building meaningful communities.