Happy Shabbirthday! | The OneTable Guide

Ahhhh. Birthdays. A celebration of the unique, loved, and valued human that you are. It’s a reminder to the world around you (and yourself) that you are worth celebrating. It’s common to have birthdays bring up emotions (highs and lows) of the year behind you and some *feels* about the year ahead of you. We welcome that with open arms.

Your birthday, no matter how you acknowledge it, is a marker of time (something we know a thing or two about). Whether you’re celebrating a birth date, birth month, star sign, or Chinese zodiac, we’ve created this guide to help mark time FOR YOU while elevating the centerpiece of your Shabbat — the once-in-a-lifetime miracle that is you. We’ve also pulled together some hot tips to make your Shabbat Sha-Birthday even more special.

A little extra birthday gift: you can use these tips + tricks for virtual or IRL gatherings:

Happy Hosting

  • Is your BFF’s birthday coming up? Consider the gift of Shabbat dinner and host on their behalf. (Ain’t no surprise party like a Zoom surprise party.)
  • If you’re doing a virtual gathering, take advantage of the waiting room feature on Zoom. This way, when the birthday person logs in, you’ll all know when to be ready to greet them.
  • Make happy birthday signs or invite guests to attend dressed according to a theme (think: birthday person’s favorite TV show, best impersonation of the birthday person)
  • Encourage everyone to use the same background or a funny picture of the birthday person on Zoom. Party decorations? Check.

Set the Menu

  • Give yourself a break and order in from your favorite spot
  • Hosting your own birthday? Try a potluck & invite your guests to bring your favorites
  • Put birthday candles in your challah… why not! Check out this delicious recipe for funfetti challah or make a challah based on your zodiac sign. You can even get ambitious and bake your challah in numbers and letters for the birthday star.

Party Time

  • Everyone loves a party game (and we’re not talking about the kinda that Monica Gellar would plan). Try out some of these fun games or create DIY  trivia all about the birthday person.
  • Partying on Zoom? Utilize breakout rooms! Send your friends to breakout rooms to share a piece of advice they would give to their [age you’re turning] self. Even if it’s close to the age they already are, it’s fun to think of the advice you would give to yourself/your friends.


  • Many people give tzedakah (donations of time or funds) on their birthday, or ask others to give on their behalf. What are the causes you want celebrated? Check out this list to help you get started
  • Ask guests to come prepared with a special toast or cherished memory involving the one you’re all celebrating 
  • Do a gift card exchange to support local businesses. Everyone who RSVPs purchases a gift card to their favorite local spot and exchanges it with another guest OR everyone gives a gift card to a local place to the bday person

Goodie Bags

Make the ending just as meaningful as the beginning. If you’re in person, consider making a goodie bag (*has flashback to childhood birthday parties*) If you’re online, send the birthday person off with one final l’chaim or check out our smooth Zoom exit tricks for some ideas to end your virtual gathering with intention.

OneTable empowers people who don’t yet have a consistent Shabbat dinner practice to build one that feels authentic, sustainable, and valuable. The OneTable community is funded to support people (21-39ish), not in undergraduate studies, and without an existing weekly Shabbat practice, looking to find and share this powerful experience.

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