Shabbat Clusters

290px-Shabbat_CandlesI feel safe saying that when Friday night finally rolls around, most of us are more than ready for it.  We’re ready to go out, to take a nap, to eat something delicious, or to celebrate that we have two whole days off ahead of us.  For many young Jewish professionals, it’s time to be social at one of the (crowded) eight monthly Shabbat services.  For others, it’s time to be with friends, or to go out and make new ones.  In any case, it’s almost always about doing something you didn’t do during the week.  It somehow make the time special.  Personally, the days are particularly special for me when I can get together with others for dinner.  And it is a love of good food and better conversation that makes Shabbat and EntryPointDC’s (EPDC) Shabbat Clusters an awesome opportunity.

Shabbat Clusters are small groups, usually about 10-12 people, organized by EPDC.  They’re peer-led and meet once a month for a pot-luck Shabbat dinner.  Registration and new groups happen twice a year, in the spring and the fall.  Each starts with a communal Kickoff Shabbat Dinner, free to all participants, so that when you have your first dinner you’re not showing up at a complete stranger’s door. (Whew!)

Shabbat offers us a weekly chance to take a second and breathe.  It’s an opportunity to take an hour or 25 and do something you want to do, something for yourself that will make the day different.  How you choose to do that is up to you, but maybe it is taking a couple hours to have a nice meal with other Jews at the start of your weekend.  There’s nothing you have to do before, during, or after.  Your Shabbat Cluster is a place for you to create a Jewish experience that is meaningful for you with other Jews, and the opportunity to really get to know them over time.

Over the past few months I have heard just about all there is to hear about Shabbat Clusters from current and former participants, and those stories let me know  that EPDC made a difference in people’s lives.  I’ve also discovered a fantastic partnership with Birthright NEXT, they like to give Birthright alumni money to host Shabbat dinners, and EPDC likes everyone to have Shabbat dinner! Perfect! (And they’re now offering grants for pot-luck meals, which is even better.)

Registration for Spring 2013 Shabbat Clusters is open until midnight, Friday, March 22. Click here for more information and to register.