The Shabbat Leadership Training Seminar

Cohort 3 • October/November 2022

Wherever you are in the world, Judaism has a time and place for meaning-making—Shabbat. Creating a Shabbat experience can be a fulfilling and inspiring respite from the demands and challenges of daily life.

Birthright Israel and OneTable are partnering to offer an immersive training program for North American madrichim designed to elevate your ability to transform Shabbat into a time of joy, reflection, and conversation; while also helping you to become a better and more engaging facilitator of Shabbat rituals on Birthright Israel trips.

Email MJ if you have any questions about The Shabbat Leadership Training Seminar with Birthright Israel x OneTable.


During these virtual workshops, we’ll look at the idea of personal connection, including identifying our own Shabbat practices. We’ll form an emotional connection to Shabbat and harness that energy for powerful programming ideas. In doing so, we’ll explore the possibilities of what Shabbat can offer our trip participants by modeling the training around the values of joy, welcoming, preservation, memory, and rest. Ultimately, these shared values will help us empower trip participants to lead pieces of the Shabbat experience themselves.

Frequently Asked Questions

Seminar Details

What is The Shabbat Leadership Training Seminar?

This virtual training program is for new and experienced Birthright Israel staff and will consist of three mandatory 2-hour workshops on Zoom. The sessions will give you the confidence and competence to create Shabbat experiences for your participants while elevating your own ability to transform Shabbat into a day of meaning and exploration—both in Israel and at home.

As part of the program, you’re required to host a OneTable Shabbat dinner modeling what you’ve learned during the training sessions. You’ll need to act as a Shabbat host prior to the end of November 2022.

When will the training sessions be offered?

The Zoom workshops will take place in October/November. To be considered for this training program, you must commit to fully participating in the three workshops. Each session will be offered twice to offer flexibility in scheduling.

Session One Options

  • Sunday, October 23: 1:00-3:00pm EST // 10:00am-12:00pm PT
  • Wednesday, October 26: 6:30-8:30pm EST // 3:30-5:30pm PT

Session Two

  • Sunday, October 30: 1:00-3:00pm EST // 10:00am-12:00pm PT
  • Wednesday, November 2: 6:30-8:30pm EST // 3:30-5:30pm PT

Session Three

  • Sunday, November 6: 1:00-3:00pm EST // 10:00am-12:00pm PT
  • Wednesday, November 9: 6:30-8:30pm EST // 3:30-5:30pm PT

What topics will be introduced?

The seminars will help you figure out Shabbat on your own terms, holding tradition in one hand and innovation in the other. You’ll leave the workshops feeling confident and prepared to facilitate the 25-hours of Shabbat on future Birthright Israel trips, allowing your participants to explore Judaism through their own Shabbat experiences when they return home. The trainings will be a deep dive into Shabbat, including:

  • What is Shabbat? What can it do and what can it be for me and my participants?
  • Preparation and programming for the full 25-hour Shabbat experience, including spiritual leadership, delegation to participants, one-on-one conversations, and large- and small-group activities.
  • An interactive immersion into Shabbat rituals and customs, including where they come from and how to make them relevant.
  • Skills to make the most of tradition and innovation.

Who will I be learning with at the seminars?

In addition to your cohort of peers, you will have the opportunity to learn with master educators and staff and faculty from both OneTable and Birthright Israel.

Application & Eligibility

What's the application process?

Interested trip staff must first complete a brief online application. Selected applicants will then be invited to participate in the program. Acceptance will work largely on a first-come, first-served basis, assuming you meet the eligibility criteria.

Who is eligible for this program?

Applicants must be identified as someone who will likely be staffing a Birthright Israel trip during the Winter 2021-2022 (December–March) or Summer 2022 (April–September) travel seasons. This includes experienced Birthright Israel madrichim (in good standing), and potential new staff who are known to Trip Organizers.

Confirmation of future trip status will be done in consultation with Birthright Israel Trip Organizers.

I haven't staffed a Birthright Israel trip before. Can I still apply?

If you already have a commitment from a Trip Organizer or know that you will be staffing a Birthright Israel trip as part of your job within the next year (e.g. federation or campus professional), then you can apply to the program.

I am a Jewish professional with significant experience already. Is this program for me?

Yes, this program is for anyone passionate about becoming a better Birthright Israel trip leader and educator, regardless of your current level of experience!

I've already staffed multiple Birthright Israel trips. Is this program for me?

Yes. If you want to become more confident, and educated, in leading Shabbat ritual and programming, then this training program is most definitely for you. The training will introduce, and touch upon, Birthright Israel’s Shabbat standards and modeling of practice.

I've already participated in another Birthright Israel x OneTable madrichim training program. Can I still apply?

If you’ve already participated in a prior Birthright Israel x OneTable Shabbat staff training program then you are not eligible to participate again. Birthright Israel Fellows are eligible to apply.

Hosting a OneTable Shabbat Dinner

How is hosting a OneTable Shabbat dinner tied into the program?

Being part of this leadership training requires that you’ll model your Shabbat practice and conversations around what you’ve learned. As such, you’ll need to act as a Shabbat host prior to January 31, 2022 or before you staff your next Birthright Israel trip (whichever comes first). Additionally, you’ll need to invite at least three guests to join in your Shabbat experience. (This can be in-person or online.) They can be friends, neighbors, family members, former Birthright Israel participants, etc.

How do I host a OneTable Shabbat dinner? And, how do I receive credit for doing so?

After completing the workshops, you will be provided details on how to sign up to host your Shabbat dinner through OneTable. *Hosts will receive an e-gift card (Nourishment) to help cover their costs at a ratio of $10 per guest (inclusive of yourself) up to a maximum of $100! Hosts will only receive funding for guests who are 21 years old or older.

*Only people who host in North America will receive Nourishment and a physical box of Shabbat resources. Those who host outside of NA will still receive the written materials electronically.

Seminar Benefits

What will it mean to become part of this training cohort?

You’ll have the opportunity to collaborate with other Birthright Israel madrichim and become a part of a network of skilled leaders and educators. You’ll be equipped with the knowledge and resources needed to prepare and program the Shabbat experience on Birthright Israel trips. Plus you’ll deepen your personal understanding of Shabbat and the rituals that elevate the 25 hours no matter where you find yourself!

Will my role differ on the bus from my co-staff?

You will board your bus with significant educational tools and resources to enrich the experiences of your participants in Israel and once they return home. However, your core responsibilities of staffing will not change, and the expectation is that you will work as a team with your co-staff to create a meaningful environment and implement the tools you’ve learned.

Does this program mean I automatically staff a Birthright Israel trip?

Ultimately there are no guarantees that you will be offered a trip to staff. And, given current circumstances, it’s impossible to know whether there will be a reduction in the number of opportunities to lead a trip over the course of the next year. That said, for the purposes of being accepted into this training program, a Trip Organizer will have to identify you as someone they plan to hire to lead a trip either in Winter 2021-2022 or Summer 2022.

Are there staffing requirements related to being accepted into the program?

As mentioned above, you must be committed to staffing at least one Birthright Israel trip following completion of the training program. Preference will be given to applicants with confirmed Winter 2021-2022 or Summer 2022 staffing assignments.

Email MJ at OneTable with additional questions.

The Shabbat Leadership Training Seminar is a project of Birthright Israel in partnership with OneTable and made possible through a grant from the Paul E. Singer Foundation.