OneTable’s Jess Spivack sat down with NYC host and guest, Rachel Fogel, to talk about her OneTable story.
JS: What brought you to OneTable?
RF: In May 2016, I was a Birthright participant on a trip co-led by OneTable’s very own NYC Manager, Sarit. Through encouragement from Sarit, my family and a few friends from Birthright, I registered to become a OneTable host!
JS: How was your first time hosting?
RF: The experience was so fun and I couldn’t believe how easy it was with OneTable’s help! I actually didn’t have a table large enough, so I ended up setting a “picnic” with a sheet on my living room floor. Everyone at the dinner was either a new friend from my recent Birthright trip or an old friend from camp. It was great to have an opportunity to bridge these two worlds and bring people together.
JS: Tell us about your experience as a OneTable guest.
RF: I attended my first OneTable dinner at my friend’s, and while we were eating, we went around the table to share how we knew the host. To my amazement, there were two people in attendance who had never met anyone at the dinner when they RSVP’d to attend. Inspired by their confidence and adventurous spirit, I chose to follow in their footsteps a few weeks later. I read through the available dinners on OneTable’s website and selected a dinner that sounded fun and inviting.
JS: So you went to someone’s dinner you didn’t know, alone. What was it like?
RF: The experience was one of the best that I’ve had since I moved to New York. I was able to prove that I could show up to a stranger’s house for a Shabbat meal and still manage to leave with new friends. I’ve attended several open OneTable dinners since, all of which are unique, inviting and help me feel welcomed in this big city.
JS: How did OneTable help you adjust to your new city?
RF: I think most people would agree that moving to NYC is almost as overwhelming as it is exciting. OneTable helped me to begin my “friend” search, and took the pressure off of feeling alone. Whether or not I choose to sign up for a OneTable Shabbat dinner, I know that I always have the option to be with people on Friday night. I never have to worry that I’ll be stuck at home alone. OneTable also empowered me to push myself out of my comfort zone. By showing up to an open dinner, I proved to myself that I am outgoing and social, without having to worry about whether or not I’ll have something in common with the host and their guests. Everyone at a OneTable meal has at least one thing in common: they wanted to find a time and place to end their week with intention and likeminded people.