(idea submitted and written by Sam G.)
Jewish Young Adults want the best of both worlds. They want to live a hip, modern lifestyle of aspiring for future money, power, and fame while at the same time keeping in line with the traditions of the ‘The Tribe’ that they are so vocally proud to be a part of. So when Friday evening rolls around, many JYAs choose to celebrate a weekly holiday known as ‘Shabbat’, from which the Christian concept of the weekly ‘Sabbath’ is derived. The Jewish Shabbat begins on Friday evening at sundown, and it is a custom amongst traditional Jews to commemorate the beginning of Shabbat with a short prayer service and a traditional family meal.
For JYAs, observing the traditional Friday night meal often entails scrounging for last minute invitations. Fortunately, Chabad houses generally host Friday night Shabbat dinners open to interested and hungry JYAs. JYAs know a good deal when they see one, and free food and alcohol served by friendly religious folks is one of the best deals in town.
Shabbat dinner (referred to as ‘Shabbos’ within the confines of the Chabad house) at a Chabad house is a festive affair, with JYAs mixing with local religious Jews of all ages. It gives single JYAs an opportunity to meet potential romantic partners in the safe environment of an ultra-Orthodox religious leader’s home. JYAs enjoy reminiscing about their own religious experiences, such as when the time they attended a Lag BaOmer bonfire as a child, and their moving experiencing praying at the Western Wall during last year’s Birthright trip to Israel. Some JYAs may even be lucky enough to participate in a rousing rendition of Am Yisrael Chai and other traditional Jewish songs that they remember from their Camp Ramah days. If the JYAs are clever enough, they will know to show up 20 minutes late, so as to miss any boring Kabbalat Shabbat davening while still enjoying the first course of the Shabbos dinner.