OneTable Live | Union: A Roundtable Shabbat

A Democrat and a Republican get into a car. 

It’s not a riddle, it’s the start of a conversation between two best friends who embarked on a road trip to seek out the experiences of Americans all across the country. Jordan Blashek and Christopher Haugh, friends from their overlapping years at Yale University, are joining OneTable for a different kind of trip: A journey through the experiences they’ve shared through the lens of togetherness around the Shabbat dinner table. 

OneTable is honored to host this discussion, celebrate togetherness through Shabbat ritual, and be joined by Jordan and Christopher to learn about the union they created while sharing meals with Americans across the country. We are particularly moved to make this discussion happen on Friday, September 11th. As our country remembers the lives lost and affected by the events of September 11, 2001, we’re grateful to be reminded of the ways that we can come together, in union, for a moment of reflection and meaning.

Together, we’ll hear from Jordan and Christopher after a communal moment of Shabbat ritual (candle lighting, blessing of the wine, and a blessing over food). We look forward to this educational and engaging evening that will remind us of the ways we can come together for shared reflection at the Shabbat dinner table.  

OneTable Live _ Union
Co-Authors, Christopher Haugh + Jordan Blashek

Our speakers, Union co-authors, Christopher Haugh and Jordan Blashek

Christopher Haugh is a writer from Kensington, California. After graduating with highest honors from the University of California, Berkeley, Chris attended Oxford University and started speechwriting as an intern in the Obama White House. He went on to join the US Department of State’s Policy Planning Staff where he served as a speechwriter to the Secretary. In 2018, Chris graduated from Yale Law School where he was a Yale Journalism Scholar. Chris is based in the San Francisco Bay Area and New York. 

Jordan Blashek is a businessman, military veteran, and writer from Los Angeles, California. After college, Jordan spent five years in the US Marine Corps as an infantry officer, serving two combat tours overseas. He holds degrees from Yale Law School, Stanford Graduate School of Business, and Princeton University. Jordan is based in New York, where he invests in entrepreneurial efforts to grow the American middle class as part of Schmidt Futures, a new philanthropic venture created by Eric and Wendy Schmidt.

Sarah Hurwitz

Our moderator, Sarah Hurwitz, former Senior Speechwriter for First Lady Michelle Obama and author of "Here All Along"

Sarah Hurwitz was a White House speechwriter from 2009 to 2017, starting out as a senior speechwriter for President Barack Obama and then serving as head speechwriter for First Lady Michelle Obama. Sarah worked with Mrs. Obama to craft widely-acclaimed addresses and traveled with her across America and to five continents. Before working at the White House, Sarah was a senior speechwriter for President Obama’s 2008 campaign; chief speechwriter for Hillary Clinton during her 2008 presidential primary campaign; deputy chief speechwriter for Senator John Kerry’s 2004 presidential campaign; deputy chief speechwriter for General Wesley Clark’s primary campaign; and a speechwriter for Senator Tom Harkin of Iowa. Sarah was also a lawyer at the Washington, DC office of WilmerHale. Sarah is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School, and she was a spring 2017 Fellow at the Institute of Politics at Harvard University.

Breakout Rooms + Discussion

Thanks for staying for our breakout rooms! We’re thrilled to have you here!

To start, please self-select a group facilitator and then quickly go around to introduce yourself. You can also rename your Zoom name: Name + City + Pronouns (what’s that?)

 

Once you’ve introduced yourself, the facilitator can read this framing: 

The facilitators role is to guide the conversation by reading questions out loud, opening up space for participation, and keeping an eye on the time. Please keep with an established group-norm to step-up and step-back. This means, take on the personal responsibility to step up when you have something to add to the group discussion, and step back when you feel like others may need space to contribute.

 

Recommended questions for the facilitator to pose to the group:

  1. In your personal reflection, how does ritual play a role in your ability to connect to others?
  2. Take a moment to reflect on some meaningful travel you’ve experienced. In what ways did those experiences you new perspectives? Was there a time you had your assumptions challenged and changed?
  3. If you could pick someone with different political views to go on the road with, who would you choose and why?
  4. We heard from Jordan and Christopher about the power of separation and silence as space to regroup. Where do you find spaces to regroup?

Want to host your Shabbat? We also want you to. Check out this page on hosting and our resource library.

Thank you to…

IPF Atid for providing group-norms and facilitation guidelines for our breakout room discussions, Little, Brown + Company and Penguin Random House for donation copies of Union and Here All Along respectively for our contest winners.