How to Run Shabbat 2014 in Your Community!

September 9, 2014

What are we trying to do? On this weekend we are trying to accomplish two important goals: the first is to share the gift of Shabbat with as many people as possible. Have a Jewish friend or coworker that does not usually experience Shabbat? Invite them over!

The second goal is to achieve Jewish unity. On this weekend not only will many experience the gift of Shabbat, but we will all experience the gift of unity. Jewish people from all backgrounds will be sitting around the table- together. This is an opportunity for us to realize that despite our differences we are all part of one beautiful people-Am Yisrael.

How do we do this? Each Synagogue or community is suggested to put together a committee of lay leaders and others that will determine the ideal way to implement Shabbat 2014 in their community-in a way that effectively tailors the activities to YOUR community. They should also divide up the responsibilities such as outreach coordination, marketing, budgeting, and hospitality. By allocating different responsibilities to different people ensure a full commitment to the program and a way to make the workload manageable! We are available to discuss this first step with you to ensure that the initial programming starts off without a hitch!

What programs can be run?

  • Thursday Night Challah Bake-Many communities have found having a Thursday night communal Challah bake highly successful and enjoyable. You can set up a table in a large indoor or outdoor location, have everyone bring large Ziploc bags and plastic bowls. Now get flour, water, eggs, yeast, and oil and you are ready to go! See more instructions here.

This also provides an excellent opportunity for people to fulfill the mitzvah of hafrashat challah.

  • Friday Night Dinner/Shabbat Day Lunch– planning a meal whether on Friday night or Shabbat day really depends on how many people sign up. If you believe that you will have a nice amount of people signing up for meals, we suggest getting members of the community to both attend and host family meals. This situation is most ideal since it allows for personal interaction and a warm & home-like environment that a large communal meal may not create.

If perhaps your Synagogue is interested in making a community-wide meal that’s wonderful too! Communities that may have multiple synagogues and organizations working on this project may desire the communal meal to bring together all parties under one roof. Please note that people who may not attend your Synagogue or any for that matter may feel more comfortable if a communal meal is held in a community center or a more neutral location.

  • Havdala Concert- Keeping Shabbat is something to celebrate! This is why many will have a concert for Havdallah to signal the end of Shabbat. Please note that in the New York area Shabbat October 25th ends at 6:43 PM so all arrangements for concert must take place right before Shabbat or after 6:43PM.

How to sign people up? There are two ways for people from the broader community to sign up for a Shabbat meal

  • Synagogue office- people can call and be set up through the Synagogue office. Some locations have created an online registration form while others are making personal phone calls to community members to ensure their attendance.
  • Alternatively, people can sign up on which is a online platform connecting guest and hosts for this and any Shabbat. People interested in attending programming can search for hosts in their community on this site and enables the connection and introduction of people from all across the religious spectrum to get involved.

Got more questions? Contact us! Email Hannah Farkas at