How to Open Your Table

At OneTable one of our core values is Hachnasat Orchim, or “Welcoming Others.” Hospitality is deeply rooted in Jewish tradition; creating warm, supportive dinners is a way to welcome others. What better way to celebrate the end of each week and the start of another than by creating space for new people in your home? We’re here to help make it happen.

Meet New People

“OneTable is awesome! It certainly makes it much easier, if not newly possible, to share the Shabbat experience with new people.”
-Will, Bay Area

“Thank you for creating this movement to create community for young Jews. As someone who has moved frequently over the years, it is so nice to have OneTable to motivate me to reach out to new people or accept a Shabbat invitation and build community.”
-Debra, DC

Follow Us For Hosting Inspiration:

What is an "Open" Dinner?

There are currently two types of “open” dinners you can host through OneTable.

  • “Open” – Anyone can attend. This is perfect for a public place like a park or restaurant.
  • “Host Approval” – As a host, you approve each guest’s RSVP request. This is the best choice for welcoming new people to your home.

How Do I Welcome New People?

It all starts with your dinner description and profile. Before the dinner:

  • Fill out your Host profile bio with interesting facts about yourself. Give people a sense of what they can expect from the dinner host.
  • Describe your dinner, including the menu (or check out our potluck feature), and let people know what they can and cannot bring.
  • Use language that is inclusive of new people. Instead of “can’t wait to see you all again,” try “can’t wait to welcome you all to my home this Friday.”
    • Make it clear that new people are welcome, and consider adding a theme to your dinner to attract people with similar interests.
      • “This Parks & Rec themed Shabbat is open to all Lesley Knope fans. Please bring something small I can add to the binder about this dinner.”
      • “Friday’s dinner is for nonprofit professionals in their 30s. New people very welcome!”
  • Describe the accessibility of your space. Check out our accessibility post.
  • The more information about what you’re planning, who you are, and what the venue is like, the better.
  • A few days before your dinner, send an email reminding guests of the time and location, and give them the opportunity to tell you any information you should know about them.

At the dinner:

  • If you’re expecting lots of new people, consider providing name tags, or place cards if the dinner is seated.
  • Once everyone is present, have everyone go around and introduce themselves with their names, pronouns, and the best thing of their week.
    • (A note on pronouns: Either ask everyone, or no one, never single someone out. And if you’ve asked people to state their pronouns but someone doesn’t, don’t push it. There are many reasons they may not want to share.)
  • Provide ritual guides so everyone knows the words. (We suggest the OneTable Guide.)
  • Check out our Icebreakers that will keep the conversation flowing.
  • Need some support talking about Shabbat with newcomers? We’ve got you covered:

After the dinner:

  • Email the guests, thanking them for coming, and letting them know how they can host their own Shabbat dinner.

Remember, it's Shabbat - a time of joy. Don't stress! Your dinner is going to be as amazing and unique as you and the people around you!

Check Out the Guide For More