OneTable: An extra magical year with 53 Shabbats

PHOTO: In its first official in-person event since before the pandemic, OneTable hosted 19 people for “Harvesting Chesed: Sukkot Shabbat at the Kindness Farm.” 

The Jewish Review has offered the 18 organizations that receive allocations from the Jewish Federation of Greater Portland the opportunity to write a column during the coming year. The following column is from OneTable.


Since Jan. 1 and Dec. 31 are both on a Friday in 2021, we at OneTable felt lucky to have an extra Shabbat to celebrate this year! Having that extra opportunity to elevate time, be filled with joy and welcome new people is exactly what the Shabbat doctor ordered after the challenges that began in 2020.
For those new to OneTable, we are a national nonprofit organization on a mission to empower young adults who don’t yet have a consistent Shabbat dinner practice. Our team and resources help our users build a Friday night practice that feels authentic, sustainable and valuable. We envision a whole generation of young adults slowing down, getting together, unplugging from the week, creating intention in their lives and building meaningful communities around this powerful wellness practice.
As a biased-toward-action, “yes, and…” organization, the past 20 months of the pandemic gave us an opportunity to offer new, exciting and meaningful ways for Shabbat gatherings to take place. We acknowledged that the larger Shabbat dinners from pre-pandemic times open to friends and strangers alike weren’t necessarily feeling safe and Covid-conscious to our hosting community. Therefore, we now offer a variety of safe ways to celebrate Shabbat, including Household-only, Solo, Virtual, Indoor (vaccination required), Outdoor (vaccination required) and Outdoor (socially distanced). These options are not going anywhere anytime soon, and our OneTable Portland community is taking advantage of these opportunities to mark the end of their weeks.
Over the past year, our Portland Shabbat-ing community has had new preferences: hosting Shabbat outdoors, followed by hosting for their roommates and partners in their household, and finally hosting solo Shabbats. Young Jewish Portlanders have hosted Shabbats to celebrate birthdays, for housewarming parties, to embrace their queer identities, to gather in social activism, to engage in meditation and to try new recipes from diverse cultures. Slowly and cautiously, we are hearing of more OneTable hosts who want to open up their tables to new people, and guests who are seeking connections through Shabbat dinner.
This past September marked our first official OneTable hosted event, back in person, since before the pandemic. Nineteen of us gathered for “Harvesting Chesed: Sukkot Shabbat at the Kindness Farm” to volunteer in the garden and celebrate Shabbat and the harvest festival, Sukkot. 
It felt great to make an impact and gather again in person around the Shabbat dinner table. Here’s to more in-person Shabbat dinners, welcoming new and familiar OneTable community members alike! If you’re interested in learning more about becoming a OneTable host, finding a seat at the Shabbat table or sharing the gift of Shabbat with a donation to OneTable, please reach out to me, Cascadia Field Manager Abbie Barash, at

Abbie Barash (she/her) is OneTable’s Cascadia Field Manager, supporting the young adult Shabbat-ing communities in Oregon and Washington. She is also OneTable’s National Community Ambassador Coordinator – supporting part-time OneTable ambassadors across the country. When not celebrating Shabbat, Abbie enjoys snowboarding, wine tasting and spending quality time with her husband and friends.



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