The Gift of the Shabbat Table
by Evelyne Klein
When our (fabulous) Membership Director asked if I would host a Shabbat dinner at our house, as a way to have long-standing members meet new members, I thought: What a terrific idea!! There were so many new members we did not know, and members we saw at temple events only. What better way to bring old and new together, get to know other members better, than around the Shabbat dinner table?
I was amazed at the synergies between the old and new members who came: the conversation flowed around the table, with everyone introducing themselves, and topics ranging from the impact of Hillel on college students to training for boards, to activities for disabled youngsters and numerous other topics, both personal and otherwise. The conversation was lively and vigorous the entire evening.
When our kids were young, my father would insist we come for Shabbat dinner on Friday nights to their home. For me and my husband, after a long and exhausting work week, it was wonderful to sit around the table talking (sometimes in heated discussions!) about all sorts of issues, often centered on Judaic or political topics – and not have to cook! For my children, it is one of the memorable experiences that has cemented their feeling for Judaism, and that they treasure.
With parents gone, children grown and moved away, we miss those evenings. These monthly Shabbat dinners, at a member’s home allows us to form new friendships, and deepen relationships with those we do know.
These monthly Shabbat dinners, at a volunteering temple member’s home, are listed in our temple bulletin, with dates and host names mentioned. They can be as small or large as the host can accommodate, and have been sold out every month well in advance of the date!
A wonderful way to bring the community together; for old and new to meet, and an opportunity for all who would not otherwise be able to share in the warmth of a Shabbat dinner at home.
Evelyne Klein is a member of Congregation Kol Ami in White Plains, NY. She is active on the Capital Campaign Committee, the Annual Fund Committee, and the Membership Committee. She is also past Co-Chair of their Social Action Committee, and serves as the Mitzvah Day Chair.