HomeJULY 2024News & Jews- Seeking to build community and strengthen relationships, young...

News & Jews- Seeking to build community and strengthen relationships, young adults driving major spike in OneTable

  Amid rising antisemitism, young Jewish adults are finding solace at the Shabbat dinner table, among peers and with rituals and conversation they design. OneTable, a North American non-profit that empowers people in their 20s and 30s to envision new rituals and build community through Shabbat dinner, is experiencing unprecedented demand from young adults since October 7.
    OneTable, which just had its 1 millionth dinner reservation since the organization’s founding in 2014, released new data reflecting this demand:
• 105 percent increase in Shabbat dinner host applications in the weeks following October 7
• 87 percent more Shabbat dinner participants in 2023 than 2022
• 45 percent of 2023 participation took place in the weeks following October 7
    “Remember that October 7 and the subsequent rise in antisemitism is on the heels of a pandemic where loneliness and anxiety skyrocketed—not to mention already high levels of antisemitism,” said Aliza Kline, CEO of OneTable. “The DIY Shabbat dinner space is a bright spot amid dark times for Jewish young adults right now. The demand we’re seeing reflects that.”
   For Melanie Silver, 21, of St. Louis, joining a OneTable dinner meant a way of reintroducing Shabbat dinner to her life as well as building a new community.
    “I missed having the opportunity to host, as I did in college, but I don’t yet have a large Jewish community in St. Louis.” she noted. “OneTable helped me host people I had met but haven’t built relationships with yet. I got to cook a big meal and share it with people in my apartment. I live alone so this is highly unusual for me, but brought me so much joy.”
    Amparo Abel, 37, a Shabbat host from New York, shared that she has hosted with OneTable after feeling lonely and needing to have uplifting experiences. She values Shabbat because it is a separate time, really tuning out the outside, and being with trusted and cared for individuals for support.
    Sam Tannenbaum, 34, a dinner guest in Cleveland, reflected on their dinner experience on December 29, 2023, saying, “It’s great to quickly put the week aside and focus on the people around me and a restful day ahead, rather than focus on myself and the next set of tasks for the week. After Shabbat, I feel like I’m part of a community, after feeling lonely and disconnected during the week.”
    To celebrate the 1 millionth opportunity for young adults to mark Shabbat, OneTable launched a new website at onetable.org that will make creating, finding, and sharing social connections even easier.  

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