Shabbat Goes Where You Go

Summer is in full swing, which means more traveling, relaxing around town, and time away from “everyday” life. While this much-needed break from the monotony of your week is relaxing and well-deserved, incorporating rituals into your vacation, like Shabbat, can feel good and provide structure to your otherwise spontaneous days off.

The idea of building a Shabbat practice into your vacation might seem daunting initially. Where am I going to get a challah? How am I going to find candles to light? What else do I need to make an Airbnb feel like home? Luckily, Shabbat is more than challah and candles:  it’s about intention, connection, joy, and reflection.

Someone loading 2 suitcases into a white car

Personally, I did not grow up with a regular Shabbat practice, and for a long time felt like I wasn’t “Jewish enough” because I didn’t know the prayers, how to light the candles properly, and simply did not have other Jewish friends who I thought would be interested in joining me in a weekly ritual. Now, as a young Jewish adult in my twenties, who just finished moving across the country by myself to a city that I know very little about, and even fewer people, I am craving connection in a way I never have before.

Like many ancient Jewish rituals, Shabbat can take on new meaning in the modern world. There is no longer a “right way” to celebrate or practice. Shabbat can look like eating takeout with friends, taking a break from the endless scroll of technology, going to synagogue, or cooking a delicious meal. Shabbat is a weekly practice that grounds you, and can change from week to week.

Traveling across the country is exhausting. And at the end of the week, I find myself yearning for familiarity in my new space. Right now, a nice glass of wine, an episode of Love Island, walking to a restaurant in my new neighborhood to grab takeout is my Shabbat ritual.

It’s something I look forward to every week in this hectic time that grounds me, relaxes me, and makes me feel at peace. Shabbat is a non-prescriptive act of kindness to myself. It’s a chance to give myself much-needed time to rest and recharge from the week before, and set myself up for success for the next.

I’m proud of my Shabbat practice and I know it’s more than “Jewish enough” because it’s my ritual and part of my story.

Shabbat is a day of rest. It can be a consistent, weekly reminder to “take a vacation” from the urgency of everyday life, take a breath, and be present with yourself and others. Or, it can be a fun experience you plan into your vacation as you would with a spa day or museum tour.

Whether or not you are traveling this summer, host a dinner using the OneTable platform for your friends and family, or for yourself, and have something to look forward to on Friday night. Also be sure to check out our Unplugging and Mindfulness resources for inspiration for you to slow down and be present around the Shabbat table.

Because, at the end of the week, Shabbat will be here, there, and wherever you go!

Shabbat at the beach!

About the Author:

Allie Mandel is OneTable’s Communication Manager who joined the OneTable team in April 2022!

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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