One of the things I love about being Jewish is spending my Friday nights ringing in Shabbat with friends and family. I’ve never been one for going out on Friday nights. The smell of fresh baked challah, wine, and matches are what remind me the weekend has come. The people who come to my house with bottles of wine, dishes of lasagna, or the salad they bought at Whole Foods five minutes before are the ones who make Shabbat so much fun.
About three weeks ago, sitting at work on a Tuesday, I felt the need for a good Shabbos fix. Luckily, work doesn’t block Facebook, so I tossed up a question to a group of friends, some people I met last year in a program called Eser. In less than an hour we had a full meal planned out, with 11 people coming to my house that Friday. It was so seamless, so easy, and I found myself reflecting on how lucky I was to have such a group of friends who were interested in spending a few quiet hours together at the end of a very busy week.
It’s amazing that we pulled it together, and even more amazing that we’re still that connected a year after we met. The people who came to my house that night were all members of my Eser group in 2012. Last Spring we signed up, got randomly matched into a group of 14, and met every Thursday night for 10 weeks to study and discuss Judaism. Out of that group of random people, I’ve found some great friends. Two of them are getting married in November, one of them is always ready to travel hours for a concert with me, and one of them I hang out with on a weekly basis. Most of them came to my house for that Shabbat dinner last month.
They say the universe works in mysterious ways. I’ll always be grateful that the stars — and schedules — aligned properly, and that a year later our group is still close enough to pull together a last minute Shabbat dinner.
Nate is a Jewish professional living in the Boston area and working for Jewish Big Brothers Big Sisters. Active in the community, Nate is passionate about anything having to do with education, the environment, children, and making the world a little better.
There are 55 participants in Eser 2013: Top Ten Influential Jews. All of them, including Nate who is now one of the leaders of an Eser group, will be enjoying Shabbat dinner together this Friday night. We can’t wait to hear about the groups that will continue to get together for Shabbat dinners, concerts, and social events next year, and the year after…
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