Shabbat Clusters

Fall Shabbat Clusters information is coming soon!
Optional Kick-Off Dinner will be September 17 outdoors at the DCJCC

Interested in joining a community for Shabbat but don’t have a place to go? Want to meet new people? Shabbat Clusters create community by gathering people by their interests and neighborhoods to eat and celebrate Jewish life together. In the past 19 years,  thousands of young adults have participated in a Shabbat Cluster and during our Spring 2019 season  475 young professionals registered.

We strive to offer a curated, unique, and welcoming Shabbat experience and community.

  1. During non-pandemic times, the first 3 months of the program will have set dates for when the groups meet for monthly potlucks and the 3 last months your group will pick their own dates to meet. If you can’t make all of the potlucks don’t worry, often your group will meet outside of Shabbat for other activities!
  2. You can be in a general Shabbat Cluster or list your interests to be put in an Interest Cluster. We are bringing back outdoors, arts, and foodies Shabbat Clusters and more.
  3. We recognize that in order for Shabbat Clusters to be successful there needs to be a critical mass of people at each gathering and that not everyone in the group can make it to each dinner so our groups tend to be 14-30 people. Shabbat Clusters will be assigned a  Shabbat Clusters Coordinator who will help you plan who will host each dinner, where and when it will take place, and will answer any questions you have about the program. They also will sometimes organize dinners with Sister Shabbat Cluster groups, another cluster group similar to your own.
  4. We know this adulting thing can be tough and you don’t always have the time or money to prepare for Shabbat. We would love to offer you nourishment for your Shabbat potlucks through OneTable.

Each session, 250-300 young professionals sign up to be placed in a “Shabbat Cluster,” a group of 14-30 people that come together for monthly potluck style Shabbat dinners. Groups are for singles and couples, Jews of all backgrounds, and are formed based on location, age, and sometimes observance level and interests. We have groups in DC, MD, and VA! After a big kick-off dinner, cluster members will host monthly potluck Shabbat meals in each other’s homes, at restaurants, and in local parks. Clusters typically last about 6 months, with new rounds starting every spring and fall.

You do not need to attend every dinner to be a part of the program and you can request to be placed in a group with friends or significant other!

Q: Does our group have to meet on Fridays nights for potlucks?
A: We want you to connect Shabbat and your community in any way you feel most comfortable. Some groups decide to meet for Shabbat lunch on Saturday, some go have a Friday night summer potluck in the park and then see an outdoor movie,  others choose to have themed  meals or meet at restaurant.

Q: What is the difference between a Shabbat Cluster and an Interest Shabbat Cluster?
A: A few seasons ago we introduced Interest Shabbat Clusters. If you would like to meet people with similar interests this is a great option for you. Interest groups include: Couples (including Interfaith Couples), Outdoors, Arts, Community Service, Foodies, LGBTQ. We encourage our interest groups to meet outside of Shabbat potlucks together to participate in activities they enjoy.

Q: How will I know when my Shabbat cluster meets?
A: Each Cluster is assigned a Cluster Coordinator who will contact the group and help pick dates, locations, and hosts for each meal.

Q: Do I have to attend all of the meals?
A: It is okay if you can’t attend every potluck, but it is encouraged!

Q: What does it cost me?
A: There is a small administrative fee to register for Shabbat Clusters and a $15 fee for the Kick-off Dinner. If this fee would prevent you from signing up, please get in touch.

Q: What if I can’t host?
A: If you do not have enough space in your home, there’s a good chance someone else in your Cluster can host. Do whatever works for your Cluster, whether that’s eating around the dining room table, dining at a local restaurant, straight-up picnic on the floor or hanging at the EDCJCC!

Q: Can I sign up for my friend/partner/spouse?
A: Each individual person must have a separate registration form.

Q: Can I be placed in a cluster with my friends or significant other?
A: We would love to put you in a cluster with your friend. There is a section in the registration form to request this; both of you must fill this out in order for me to consider the request and we will do our best to fulfill it.

Q: When does registration close?
A: Registration is final and over on roughly a week before the kick-off dinner!

Q: Oops! It’s a day after the deadline and I forgot to sign up! Can I still be in a cluster?
A: The deadline ensures we will have enough time to organize the groups before the Kick-off Dinner. After the Kick-off Dinner, if we have space in a group we will try our best to place you. Email to inquire about rolling registration.

“I realize I got extremely lucky with my group, because we all got along and continued to meet once a month for Shabbat dinners over the course of the year. As the year progressed, we gathered for more than just Shabbat. We hosted Hanukkah parties, Passover seders, and Yom Kippur break fasts. Even when the Clusters program was over, we continued to meet and our social circles all began to merge.
Soon our cluster expanded beyond just our group and began to include friends of friends and significant others until it was just a group of friends gathering together – as it is today.

Shabbat Clusters introduced me to some of my closest friends, Jewish life in DC, and helped this new kid in town feel at home in a new city. ” – Caryn

“It wasn’t until the final meeting of that Cluster, which Dan and I hosted in our apartment, and fortunately decided to go all out with two kinds of soup, chicken, and a whole mess of sides. It was a great way to send off the Cluster. A girl named Juliet made an appearance as well, after being unable to make it to the previous meetings. I sat across from her at dinner, and made sure I got her phone number to ask her out later on. We got married in August 2015 and six of the friends we met at Clusters were in attendance at our wedding. We’ll be forever grateful to have found each other, albeit a few months late, and great friends at a Shabbat Cluster.”- Daniel