EntryPointDC's Shabbat Clusters
Registration for the Spring 2017 Shabbat Clusters Season is NOW OPEN!
Mark Your Calendar - Spring 2017 Shabbat Clusters Kick-off Dinner will be March 31, 2017
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 seven years, over 2,750 people have participated in a Shabbat Cluster and during our Spring 2016 season over 285 young professionals registered.
"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
"I’ve honestly lost track of how many clusters I’ve attended. I think it’s in the 6-7 range. I mostly keep going because they are fun, a good way to meet new people and make friends. I’m not very plugged into the Jewish community, so this is a great way to get a foot in that door without a huge commitment. I’m also single, and Clusters are great ways to meet other Jewish singles without the pressure of being at a dating/singles event." - Geno
"My boyfriend and I signed up together so we can participate in an activity we can share. It’s always awesome when we find something we both want to do. Who doesn’t like potlucks and schmoozing? Also, we will both met new couples through the cluster, which is great." - Sarah
Read about more Shabbat Cluster experiences:
Shabbat Clusters Revamped: Bonding Over a Friday Night Meal
Shabbat Clusters - My Introduction to Jewish Life in DC
How They Work:
Each session 150-250 young professionals sign up to be placed in a “Shabbat Cluster,” a group of 10-25 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. After a big kick-off dinner at the DCJCC, 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.
Thanks to the generosity of of The Exelbert and Salzberg Family Endowment for EntryPointDC Shabbat Clusters, EntryPointDC will be hosting a Kickoff Shabbat Dinner Friday, March 31 at 7:30 pm at the DCJCC for all those who have signed up for a Shabbat Cluster. This dinner is your first chance to meet the other people in your Cluster and mingle with everyone else!
This season we introduced four additional components to the program and we will be contining to refine the program in the 2017 season. We strive to offer a curated, unique, and welcoming Shabbat experience and community.
This season we are introducing four new components to the program:
1. 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 the potlucks don't worry, often your group will meet outside of Shabbat for other activities!
Shabbat Cluster Kick-Off Dinner - Friday, March 31 (optional)
An opportunity to meet everyone in your Shabbat Cluster group!
Afikomen Scavenger Hunt - Sunday, April 9 (optional)
Team up with your group for a fun Pre-Passover scavenger hunt in the city before your first dinner
Shabbat Cluster Dates
Shabbat Cluster Dinner #1 - Friday, April 21
Shabbat Cluster Dinner #2 - Friday, May 19
Shabbt Cluster Lunch #3 - Saturday, June 17
**July, August, and September your group picks their own dates!
2. You can choose between a general Shabbat Cluster or an interest Shabbat Cluster. We are bringing back outdoors, arts, foodies, 30 somethings and Interfaith interest Shabbat Clusters. We are also adding a cluster specficially for Singles to meet each other.
3. Your group may be larger this season! 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. 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 funding/meal delivery for your Shabbat potlucks through One Table
Frequently Asked Questions:
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 such as DGS Deli when they have a craving for matzo ball soup.
Q: What is the difference between a Shabbat Cluster and an Interest Shabbat Cluster?
A: This season 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), 30 somethings, 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 $10 fee for the Kickoff Dinner at the DCJCC. 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 or a straight-up picnic on the floor!
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?
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 at NOON roughly a week before the kickoff 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 Kickoff Dinner. After the Kickoff Dinner, if we have space in a group we will try our best to place you.