Shabbat Clusters 2.0

Interested in joining a community for Shabbat, but don’t have a place to go? Want to meet new people with similar interests? Sign up for Spring Shabbat Clusters and find your #shabbatsquad! Based on age, location, and/or interests, we’ll organize curated small groups that will meet for monthly potluck dinners at each other’s homes, local parks, or restaurants.

Groups are formed by age and neighborhood and sometimes interests and you can request to be placed with friends or significant others. You do not need to be at every cluster gathering. Interest groups include arts lovers, LGBTQ, interfaith couples, outdoor enthusiasts and many more!

Rolling Registation Until Groups are Full – Email Stacy to see if there is space. Please list your age/location preference/Kosher preference/Interest groups this season: Couples, LGBTQ

Suggested Dates & Themes: Friday dinner or Saturday morning/afternoon

*Your group will decide on best dates for everyone. This season we suggest the first and last gathering be the 2nd Friday of the month and the rest of the dinners will be the 3rd Friday of the month.

Shabbat Cluster Kick-Off Happy Hour (optional) – Tuesday, March 22

Here is where you’ll learn more about the program and meet some your Shabbat Cluster group! We will be having happy hour in the parking lot outside the EDCJCC!

Shabbat Cluster Dinner #1 – Friday,  April 8
Suggested Theme: Pre-Passover Carb Fest

Passover is almost here and we want all the carbs before then! Host a potluck featuring your favorite carb-loaded dishes or order in your favorite pizza and pasta, this first dinner will be hosted by your coodinator or co-coordinators.

Shabbat Cluster Dinner #2 – Friday, May 20
Suggested Theme: Favorite Jewish Foods Feast

It’s Jewish heritage month! Celebrate by sharing your favorite family recipes or trying foods from different Jewish cultures around the world. Learn more about your group members backgrounds and favorite things about being Jewish.

Shabbat Cluster Dinner #3 – Friday, June 17
Suggested Theme: Bar/Bat Mitzvah Bash

Lets relive our mitzah days and feast on finger foods, rock out to our favorite old school jams, and play Coke and Pepsi.

Shabbat Cluster Dinner #4 – Friday, July 15
Suggested Theme: Summer BBQ

It’s the season for grilling, watermelon, and fun in the sun. Don’t forget the lawn games!

Shabbat Cluster Dinner #5 – Friday,  August 19
Suggested Theme: Camp Color Wars

Do you miss summer camp? Bring back the vibes with color war games, s’mores around a firepit, and your favorite beverage .

Shabbat Cluster Dinner #6 – Friday, September 9
Suggested Theme: Almost Apples & Honey Time

Bring back the sweetness of Rosh Hashanah time and gather with your group to reflect on the past year, cluster season, and enjoy sweet treats.

 

 

What are Shabbat Clusters?

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. Over 20 years of Shabbat Clusters, thousands of young adults have participated. Our spring 2020 session saw a record 475 participants!

In the News

Learn more about Shabbat Clusters from past participants!

Shabbat Clusters Revamped: Bonding Over a Friday Night Meal

Shabbat Clusters – My Introduction to Jewish Life in DC

Due to COVID-19, the upcoming session of Shabbat Clusters will be a little bit different than past years. Read on for more information!

How are Shabbat Clusters different this season?
  1. Cluster participants must be vaccinated to participate
  2. Smaller group sizes: If your Cluster is meeting, groups will be 15-20 or fewer people and your group will discuss if you prefer to meet outdoors or indoors (and discuss if you want to  provide negative COVID tests)
  3. There will be set dates and suggested themes for Clusters, but each will group will determine what works best for them. Shabbat Clusters has traditionally been a potluck-style dinner program; to address concerns that some community members may not be comfortable eating in-person with their group, we will provide alternative Shabbat themes and activities. Shabbat Cluster gatherings will begin with lighting candles, prayers for wine and bread, and group members sharing their highlight of their week.
What will not change?
  1. Opportunities for community and connection (and a chance to meet your new best friend, significant other, or roommate).
  2. Cluster groups will be led by a coordinator or co-coordinators who will get to know you and send more information about when your group will gather.
  3. Similar Cluster groups may come together for Shabbat gatherings.
  4. Commitment from our community members to the program and their peers.
  5. Nourishment options from OneTable, a community non-profit and social platform to elevate your Shabbat experience if your group chooses to post their Shabbat Cluster gathering.

Q: Does our group have to meet on Fridays nights for potlucks?
A: We want you to connect to Shabbat and your community however you feel most comfortable. In the past, groups have had Shabbat lunch on Saturday afternoon, done an activity after Friday night dinner, or had dinners at a restaurant, beer garden, or park.

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. In the past, interest groups have included couples (including interfaith couples), outdoors, arts, community service, foodies, and LGBTQ community members. We encourage our interest groups to meet outside of Shabbat potlucks either virtually or for outdoor socially-distanced activities.

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 plan details for each meal.

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

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

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. Please make sure that both of you fill this out in order for the request to be considered. We will do our best to fulfill all requests.

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 program begin. If there is still space in a group, we will try our best to place you. Email stacym@edcjcc.org 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