What is Rekindle Shabbat?
Rekindle Shabbat is program that encourages Jewish and interfaith households to celebrate Shabbat and build community with others in the Pioneer Valley Jewish community, through at-home Shabbat dinner gatherings and festive community-wide events. Funding is available to underwrite meal costs and related costs associated with qualified gatherings.
Through a simple online application, individuals can apply to receive funding to organize their own celebrations including choosing their own dates, locations, and participants. See below for grant application details.
Program funds underwrite the meal costs of households that have a common interest or "affinity" with the goal of establishing or strengthening relationships among the groups' participants as well as providing guidance and education about Shabbat rituals and customs. Last year, celebrations were organized by family support groups, havurot ("friends" groups), schools, and Jewish communal organizations. For example:
- A havurah of singles interested in learning and practicing Shabbat songs;
- Families of children with special needs who met through a support group;
- Co-workers from a local college;
- Families of B'nai Mitzvah students;
- Second and third grade Sunday school families of a local synagogue;
- Households participating in a parent education class;
- Graduate school group;
- Intergenerational group in a local neighborhood.
Applying for Funding
Consider how Rekindle Shabbat can be a vehicle to build community among proposed participants through celebrating Shabbat together. It is strongly preferred that the group is a size that can meet in a home environment; in rare cases, we will approve larger groups meeting in a community space but the program should be very strong in how it will welcome and involve participants in a meaningful and enriching experience. Other details:
- Funding covers the cost of kosher meals (up to $18 per adult/$10 per child)
- Gathering must be free to participants
- Participants live in the Pioneer Valley region
- Organizers select the date, time, and location and make food arrangements
- The gathering can be focused on Shabbat or Havdalah with an identified leader(s) guiding the celebration and providing new or deepened learning of Shabbat traditions and themes
- Gatherings must occur by the end of July 2014
- Funds are available first-come, first-served until all funds are allocated. Payment is made as a reimbursement, upon receipt of a brief written report and expense documentation.
"Shabbat Under the Sky" Valley Wide Summer Picnic Series
Each year Jews across the Pioneer Valley connect with each other and their tradition by way of simple pleasures: music, conversation, kid-friendly activities, and a potluck picnic in a beautiful outdoor setting. Organizers of Rekindle Shabbat team up with a consortium of Jewish organizations across the region to present Shabbat under the Sky-four outdoor picnic events in August celebrating community and the Jewish Sabbath. Past series have taken place in Amherst's Groff Park, Look Park in Northampton, Green River Rec Area in Greenfield, and the picnic grove at the Springfield JCC.
What past Rekindle participants have said:
"Before Rekindle Shabbat, I had no idea how to do Shabbat. Now, it is a part of our lives."
"We really use the program as a way to stop, take a breath, get together with friends and connect. It is a huge gift."
"When I joined the Rekindle Shabbat program, I thought it would be a program for the children. When I look back, I see I have learned as much as everyone else."
"We had an impromptu Shabbat after I got the Shabbat kit and my kids were so happy. I didn't realize what an impact it would have on them until we actually did it. They knew all the songs and all the prayers. It was wonderful."
"Shabbat is the Jewish version of stopping to smell the roses. We get so caught up in the daily grind that it is so easy to forget that all of creation is a gift to humanity. Our daily grind is nothing if we cannot take a step back and think about what it is all for."
Rekindle Shabbat is a program of the Harold Grinspoon Foundation