The Friday Night Recharge

An invitation to take care of yourself: What new or different steps could you take to better care for your health?

Now that January is behind us and we’ve moved on from the frenetic energy around New Year’s resolutions, we can admit that there’s more to health than what’s on the table, and that’s who is around it. Health and happiness are deeply linked and finding joy is about a lot more than denying yourself the free office treats. At OneTable we help millennials come together weekly for Shabbat dinner, so I spend most of my week thinking about the incredible life-changing power of meeting for a meal.

My childhood home was always busy, always loud, always full of people. Shabbat dinner was a time when we all sat still, around the table, covered with a carefully ironed white tablecloth, fresh flowers, sweet wine and fresh challah. The ritual of coming together around the table grounded our family.

Seriously, just thinking about it slows my heart rate. I am a physical, emotional type. I lead with my gut, informed by data and strategy to be sure, but my life’s work is dedicated to helping others live maximally. Our world moves fast and is a total mess, it’s easier to keep our heads down and work, or dive into our phones and just ignore the world around us. Yet, we are so much happier, more productive, wise and kind when we look others in the eye, engage in conversation and mark transitional moments with some form of ritual.

One of our hosts, Hillary, told me that when she moved to Denver she didn’t know anyone. It was incredibly important for her to find a way to connect with a community. “So when I found OneTable, I was relieved. I love that the dinners are intimate and let you really get to know each other. I don’t have family here, and through OneTable dinners, I’m creating a chosen family.”

We can nurture our health by nourishing each other. A young woman named Katie told me that she moved across the country to live with her partner but found it difficult to meet new people and was deeply lonely. After a few months in her new home, Katie started attending monthly Queer Shabbat dinners and now has a strong network of friends (she says a “#ShabbatSquad”) she probably would not have met otherwise.

And sometimes we all to need to find our own way to unplug in order to recharge and connect with the people around us. Shabbat dinner can be that space to slow down, take a step back, and come together.

Here’s how to make it happen:

Friday night is there for you every week to help you recharge. This week, on March 1st, it’s also the National Day of Unplugging, a project of Reboot.

If you’re hosting a dinner open to new people to join, use keywords like “Friday Night Recharge”, “National Day of Unplugging”, and/or “Reboot” so that guests can find your Shabbat.

We also have a conversation dice game (that you can print and make at home!) made by Reboot x OneTable! Get it here.

I’m inspired by hosts, like Hillary, who welcome strangers into their homes and by guests, like Katie, who take their happiness into their own hands and attend a stranger’s dinner. This is the kind of resolution we each can commit ourselves to weekly. As for nurturing my own health, I’m committing not only to continuing my Shabbat dinner practice, but to opening up my table to strangers, popping the social bubble, and letting myself be nurtured by connections that will surprise me.

May The Friday Night Recharge inspire you to nourish yourself by unplugging and recharging through dinner with people you love.

Aliza is a dynamic leader and social entrepreneur. Aliza was also the founding executive director of Mayyim Hayyim Community Mikveh and Education Center in Boston, an international model for re-imagining Jewish ritual open to the full diversity of the Jewish community. In 2009, Aliza was awarded an Avi Chai Fellowship. A trained coach and design thinking facilitator, Aliza has worked with clients throughout North America and Israel. She earned her BA from Washington University in St. Louis and her MPA from New York University. She lives in Brooklyn, New York with her husband Bradley Solmsen and their very smart and talented daughters Ela, Gila and Nomi.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.