Why Hosts Host: An Investigation

During my time interning with OneTable in Washington, DC, I was given the opportunity to welcome new hosts in the DMV with a short phone call. After over 100 calls, I learned a LOT about why new hosts wanted to welcome Shabbat into their lives. Ranked by how many times they were mentioned, here are the top 10 reasons to host a OneTable Shabbat dinner, straight from other hosts:

Two hands extending out to clink two glasses of white wine together

10. Tradition, with a twist.

Shabbat dinner brings back childhood memories while creating your own new Shabbat traditions. If you loved Shabbat dinner with your parents or grandparents, this is a great time to see how doing it yourself feels. Chicken soup not your style? Order your favorite Pad Thai. Hebrew doesn’t feel right to you? Try making toasts or meditating instead — find a way to end the week with intention that feels good to you.

9. Elevating Shabbat

Added nourishment can take some of the pressure of hosting off, and help hosts really elevate their dinners. Shopping from a local store or restaurant or ordering Shabbat decorations from Etsy can really make Friday night feel different and special.

8. Shabbat made easy

OneTable provides resources and one-on-one help to make sure you have everything you need to host Shabbat dinner.

7. Hosting for the Holidays

Whether it’s Friday Friendsgiving or a Shabbanukkah party, blending Shabbat into other holidays can make them even more special.

6. Explore what "Jewish" means for you

Resources like The Shabbat Guide or A Mindful Shabbat supplement can help you find what resonates with you. If you’re looking for more, you can reach out to your Field Manager so you’ll have everything you need to give your dinner a personal flair.

5. Introduce others to Shabbat

Friday night is the best night of the week for good reason, and you want everyone to know it. From lighting candles, drinking wine, and eating challah, to unplugging and recovering from a long week, it just feels good to introduce your friends to this ritual of reflecting and re-energizing.

4. Kick it up a notch

More than half of current OneTable hosts started off as guests. Users loved their first OneTable experience as a guest, and OneTable makes the the transition natural.

3. Meet new people

Hosting is great to expand your network in a relaxing, chill, and intentional setting.

2. Find community

Shabbat is the perfect time to gather — not just for a dinner party, but to find a place that feels like home. Want to eat with other vegans? Have a delayed Game of Thrones watch party? Book club? Make Friday night a special time to connect with your tribe.

1. Bring people together

Shabbat dinner is an incredible way to gather with your friends and introduce people from different parts of your life. Good food + good wine + good people = just good for you.

Josh Neirman is a graduate intern at OneTable and currently is pursuing his master's degree in Experiential Education and Jewish Cultural Arts at GWU.

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