NEW! Rekindle Shabbat Program Now Supports "Affinity Group" Shabbat Celebrations
What is Rekindle Shabbat? Rekindle Shabbat encourages groups of Jewish and interfaith households to celebrate Shabbat through at-home dinner gatherings that foster meaningful connections to Jewish customs and traditions and build community among participants. Additional festive, community-wide events are planned by the Program Coordinator during the year to enhance the experience.
New Funding Program for Meal Gatherings Funding is available to underwrite meal costs associated with qualified Shabbat gatherings. In past years, Rekindle Shabbat sponsored free kosher catered meals on pre-determined dates to groups of Jewish and interfaith individuals and families. Now groups can receive funding to organize their own celebrations including choosing their own dates, locations, and participants.
Any group with a common interest, or "affinity," and the desire to strengthen relationships among participants may apply for funding to underwrite meal costs associated with Shabbat and scheduled at a time and location of their own choosing. Gatherings can be focused on Shabbat or Havdalah and must include an identified leader capable of providing guidance and education about Shabbat rituals and customs.
For example, celebrations have been organized by individuals in the community, as well as by lay leaders, Jewish educators, family support groups, informal friends' groups, school representatives, and other staff from Jewish organizations. Gatherings included:
- A singles havurah ("friends" group) focused on learning and practicing Shabbat songs
- Families of children with special needs who met through a support group
- Synagogue boomer-members' dinner with the rabbi
- Co-workers from a local college
- Families of B'nai Mitzvah students
- Second and third grade synagogue school families
- Participants of a parent education class
- Intergenerational group in a local neighborhood
How to Apply/Eligibility Guidelines Organizers, email the Program Coordinator a brief proposal with the following:
- Event description (Shabbat, Havdallah, activities, etc.)
- Intended participants and their "affinity" or common interest
- Anticipated dates, time, and location
- Anticipated budget
- Individual(s) who will lead the Shabbat or Havdallah ritual and support new learners in the group
- The group's social/community-building goal and who will be responsible to address that intention
- Gatherings are free to participants
- Groups are from the Pioneer Valley region or southern Vermont (Windham and Bennington counties)
- Gatherings occur by the end of July 2013
About the Funding
- Funding covers the cost of kosher meals (up to $18 per adult/$10 per child)
- Funds are available first-come, first-served until all funds are allocated
- Payment is made as a reimbursement, upon receipt of a brief written report and expense documentation
For more information, contact Dyan Wiley, Rekindle Shabbat Program Coordinator, at email@example.com or (413) 439-1941.
Rekindle Shabbat is a partnership of the Harold Grinspoon Foundation and the Jewish Federation of Western Massachusetts with the generous support of Bill and Lynn Foggle.
What past Rekindle participants have said:
"Before Rekindle Shabbat, I had no idea how to do Shabbat. Now, it is a part of our lives."
"We really use the program as a way to stop, take a breath, get together with friends and connect. It is a huge gift."
"When I joined the Rekindle Shabbat program, I thought it would be a program for the children. When I look back, I see I have learned as much as everyone else."
"We had an impromptu Shabbat after I got the Shabbat kit and my kids were so happy. I didn't realize what an impact it would have on them until we actually did it. They knew all the songs and all the prayers. It was wonderful."
"Shabbat is the Jewish version of stopping to smell the roses. We get so caught up in the daily grind that it is so easy to forget that all of creation is a gift to humanity. Our daily grind is nothing if we cannot take a step back and think about what it is all for."