Embodying Pride Shabbat
As your Pride Shabbat rolls around, maybe you’re starting to brainstorm not just what to talk about at the table, but also what to do around the table! So many of the Shabbat rituals and blessings are accompanied by physical motions. Standing, bowing, swaying, and other movements can express deeper meaning, as we explore tradition not just with our words, but with our full selves.
If you’re ready to infuse meaning through movement and action into Pride Shabbat, we got you covered! Members of your OneTable Field Team, Naomi, Lizzy, Emma, Abbie, Leah and Maya have compiled this list of fun, thoughtful activities you can do at your Shabbat!
Activities for Pride Shabbat:
Make sure to provide name tags (with a space to write in pronouns) for when guests arrive! You can share a sweet framing of coming as YOU are, which means sharing the name that feels most comfortable to you along with the correct pronouns. This can also serve as a nice welcome as people start to arrive. Something about naming the obvious feels pertinent for a Pride Shabbat!
Collaborative Table Runner
Lay out a poster board or butcher paper across the table with many colored markers. Have guests answer the question: What does queerness mean to you? Together, create a collaborative table runner for your Shabbat dinner!
One way of expressing queerness can be through personal style or presentation. Have each guest create a crown (or other adornment) that reflects them in whatever that might mean.
Read an excerpt from Zoe Leonard’s poem, which has since become a 6-word anthem: “I want a dyke for president.” Each guest then reflects and writes down a 6-word anthem of what they wanted to see in the world. Bonus: Covered the tables in butcher block paper, and write down anthems in crayons on the table itself. Towards the end of dinner, go around and anyone who wants to share can.
- Tip: The anthems can range from humorous to serious, and not actually need to strictly stay within a 6 word limit.
Make a Pride BINGO card to encourage people to meet & get to know one another. This can be a themed, light-hearted way to break the ice and encourage ourselves to make new friends! Some examples of prompts could include:
- Someone who is the gay cousin
- Someone who knows their sun, moon and rising sign
- Someone wearing cuffed pants
- Someone who has not known whether it’s a date or not
- Someone wearing a flannel
Make Shabbat Your Own
Instead of using a challah for motzi or kosher wine for kiddush, try using a different type of bread item or beverage to symbolize how ritual changes and morphs over time, based on the community it lives in. Shabbat is not a “one size fits all” – just as queerness is not one-size fits all – and all who want to participate are welcome. Using cornbread instead of challah personalizes an ancient ritual and shows queer people that they have a seat at the Shabbat table too, that they have a place in Jewish community and life.
Set the Mood: Shabbat Playlist
If it fits into your Shabbat practice, have a playlist going in the background as guests trickle into your dinner. Often the sound of music fills space and lightens the mood, which can be helpful to find ease for both the host and guest. Playing music that is representative of the theme and group can also inspire the mood and get people into a queer/Pride headspace. Check out our Pride Shabbat playlist!
How can we move our bodies (dance, stretch, or even stillness) to celebrate and create joy in being in one another’s presence? Lead a movement activity to get people connected to their bodies and each other! Not everyone always feels connected or comfortable in their body, and Shabbat is a time to lean into the discomfort or create comfort in a supportive community.
Oftentimes, it is easier to have organic conversations over a game or activity. Try out any of these activities or create your own way to Pride Shabbat! Post a Pride Shabbat for any Friday this June.
About the Author:
NAOMI DAVIS (they/them) is the Miami Field Manager and has been with OneTable since 2021.