OneTable Launches Online Platform Inviting Hosts and Guests to Share in Customized Shabbat Dinner Experiences

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After a successful beta test in 2014, the New York-based start-up will host its official launch event at WeWork Bryant Park, this spring

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We’ve leveraged our modern-day technology to reintroduce Shabbat dinner into the lives of those in their 20s and 30s; the response has been extremely positive.

Long-standing traditions and homely hospitality now have a modern spin with the official launch of OneTable (http://www.OneTable.org), New York’s oldest new way to do Friday night. The not-for-profit online hub is designed for post-college, pre-family millennials, with ranging cultural and religious practices, to create custom Shabbat dinner experiences within their communities.

After a successful beta test in 2014, which prompted the facilitation of close to 300 Friday night dinners, OneTable will welcome its network of hosts, guests and industry partners to its invite-only launch event, this May, at WeWork Bryant Park.

With its flagship program in New York, OneTable’s mission is to inspire and support millennials to create Friday night Shabbat dinners that reflect their personal style and fit naturally into their lives. Its online community and tools are backed by an experienced team to help guide hosts and their guests through the entire process of hosting Shabbat dinners, customized to their liking, with varied environments and groups of people.

“Before the rise of social media, the dining room table was the most prevalent social network,” said Executive Director of OneTable Aliza Kline. “We’ve leveraged our modern-day technology to reintroduce Shabbat dinner into the lives of those in their 20s and 30s; the response has been extremely positive. These experiences inspire and encourage individuals to take time between the hectic work week and jam-packed weekend to connect with old and new friends, in new places, while practicing valued traditions.”

This spring, OneTable is inviting its network of diners, industry partners and supporters to its official launch event that will feature local chefs, mixologists, fresh food suppliers and beverage brands. The event is designed to emulate the authentic experience OneTable aims to accelerate through the facilitation of its weekly dinner events.

Current food sponsors for the OneTable launch event include Amy Kritzer, Texan-Jewish fusion chef and founder of What Jew Wanna Eat food blog; Comfort Foods Catering, an award winning culinary arts training program, and Bettina Banayan, a New York City-born supper club chef and artist.

All ingredients will be ordered from OurHarvest: a farm-to-table-style grocer that sources all-natural products from local farmers, fisherman and food artisans partners with farmers, fishermen and food artisans. Drinks will be crafted at the interactive cocktail bar, sponsored by Spice & Spoon’s professional mixologist. Wine sponsors will include both domestic and Israeli brands, such as Yarden.

“This event is both a celebration of OneTable’s official launch, as well as an opportunity for us to curate a guest experience that demonstrates the many possibilities for Shabbat dinner,” said Kline. “We hope guests leave excited and enthused, knowing that our OneTable team can help make Shabbat dinner a customized tradition for them to carry on for many years to come.”

OneTable offers three different types of Shabbat-oriented events that the hosts and guests may choose from, via its online platform, varying from intimate dinners to large-scale dinner parties:

  • Intimate Dinners: Typically reserved for eight to 12 people and mostly hosted in homes, parks or public dining spaces. After applying for a host position with OneTable, individuals are accepted into the program and given “Nourishment” credit to purchase food and other materials from partnering markets or grocers, which aid in the preparation process.
  • Shabbat Dinner Events: Hosted by select entrepreneurs who create events, often held in restaurants or other private dining venues for 25 to 60 people, who must purchase individual tickets.
  • Nosh:pitality Events: Serve as social gatherings, as well as skill building workshops, to give OneTable hosts the opportunity to learn cooking, challah-baking, mixology and ritual facilitation techniques, prior to their hosted Shabbat dinner.

Hosts are encouraged to participate in one-on-one “Shabbat coaching” with Jessica Minnen, OneTable’s resident rabbi, or another trained coach in order to answer any questions or concerns the individual may have before hosting Shabbat dinner, like how to create a welcoming space.

OneTable’s hosting hotline provides answers to questions like the appropriate amount of food needed to feed eight guests versus 15. OneTable also supports hosts with food credit and material needs for the dinners in order to help elevate and simplify the overall experience.

With the support from its operating partners and initial funders, The Steinhardt Foundation for Jewish Life, The Paul E. Singer Foundation and an anonymous funder in Chicago, OneTable has been able to carry out its mission in New York and is expanding to Chicago this summer.

For more information on OneTable or to host your own Shabbat dinner, visit http://www.onetable.org. Stay connected with news and updates on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram: OneTableShabbat.

About OneTable

In 2014, Aliza Kline, founding executive director of OneTable launched the New York-based national initiative, which invites millennials to create a sustainable and customized Shabbat dinner practice. As a non-profit organization, OneTable is the result of a two-funder collaboration with a common goal of re-vamping Friday nights for the Jewish community.

Hosts and guests may choose from three different types of Shabbat-oriented events, via its online platform, varying from intimate dinners to large-scale dinner parties.

Kline’s team is built of millennials with experience in various areas of the program, such as Jessica Minnen, OneTable’s resident rabbi with a very unique, post-denominational skill set, making her an innovator in the New York Jewish community. Currently, OneTable is hosted through Feastly, an online social dining platform that simplifies the process of finding dinners in specific geographic areas, and is now accepting applications to host Shabbat dinner events for the remainder of 2015.

For more information on OneTable or to host your own Shabbat dinner, visit http://www.onetable.org. Stay connected with news and updates on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram: OneTableShabbat.

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Jessica Windell
@onetableshabbat
since: 12/2014
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