Hosting dinners is difficult, but I fully enjoy doing it. There is something about showing off my cooking skills and the praise that comes from it that I love. Wonder why. It could also be the welcoming people into my home and giving them a well-made meal and an opportunity for conversation. Recently, OneTable, an organization that wants to bring people together for Shabbat dinners began organizing and sponsoring dinners in Pittsburgh. OneTable has a goal of helping hosts create an evening of meeting new people or reconnecting with those you already know. Last week, I hosted an OneTable Shabbat dinner and I thought it went great.
OneTable is a Jewish associated organization with a goal to get young post college Jewish adults to come together to continue the traditions of Shabbat for people who don’t experience them regularly. A primary tradition is the family dinner with lighting candles and prayers over bread and wine. OneTable gave me the opportunity to invite friends and if I so wish, strangers (potential new friends), Jewish and not, to continue these experiences. Through OneTable, I registered my dinner and they give you resources to properly host the dinner such as reading materials, recipes, guest list management and a stipend toward providing food. A nice thing about OneTable is they give the option to so a more traditional family dinner or to do non-traditional dinners like BBQs, pizza parties, themed events, and dinners at restaurants or big events. For my hosted dinner, I ended up having to go the more traditional route as it was still Passover.
After appetizers, I had our group do some of the traditional Shabbat prayers. I personally feel covering the main three prayers of bread, wine and candles is more than enough. A pro tip is to make sure to have people at your dinner who know the prayers by heart. Then they will go much more smoothly.
The main course was roasted rosemary chicken and potatoes, sautéed green beans and glazed carrots. Since it was Passover and because I had to be at work all day, my menu choices were a little limited due to cook time. However, everything turned out great. All of those items cook relatively easy and you can prep all of it the night before and then just cook the next day. A nice thing about OneTable is if you can’t cook, they don’t prevent you from hosting a Shabbat. If I decided I didn’t feel like cooking, they give many options for ordering takeout or not even eating at a house. I have attended other OneTable Shabbat dinner where we ordered pizza and wings. I opted to cook since I love to cook and as I’ve said, I love the praise I get afterwards for cooking. We opened bottle of wine number 5 sometime in the middle of dinner.
Would I host an OneTable again? Totally! It’s an awesome way to bring people together, eat and experience the Shabbat traditions. I believe this organization has helped my friends and me have and attend more regular Shabbat dinners than before. I have also attended a share of OneTable dinners hosted by other people. We’ve done pizza parties and game nights to true family style dinners. I always have a great time, great food and great conversation.
If you want to know more about OneTable, check out their website www.onetable.org.