וַיְבָרֶךְ אֱלֹהִים אֶת-יוֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִי, וַיְקַדֵּשׁ אֹתוֹ: כִּי בוֹ שָׁבַת מִכָּל-מְלַאכְתּוֹ, אֲשֶׁר-בָּרָא אֱלֹהִים לַעֲשׂוֹת
And God blessed the seventh day and declared it holy, because on it God ceased from all the work of creation that He had done
Host a Shabbat Dinner
Shabbat is the Jewish day of rest, and it offers us an opportunity to contemplate the spiritual aspects of life and to spend time with friends and family. Hosting a Shabbat dinner is a great way to bring those important to you together for good food and conversation. Our guide below provides you with a program in which you can introduce your guests to the work of IRAC and begin a dialogue about freedom of religion and conscience, human equality, social justice, religious tolerance, and individual rights in Israel. We have included a variety of discussion topics and stories in which you can use during your meal. Feel free to mix and match materials as you see fit.
At the beginning of your dinner, provide your guests with a brief overview of the Israel Religious Action Center:
This Shabbat we will be discussing the work of The Israel Religious Action Center (IRAC) and the issues facing Israeli society. The Israel Religious Action Center is the leading civil and human rights organization addressing issues of religion and state in Israel. IRAC was founded in 1987 and it is the public and legal advocacy arm of the Israeli Reform Movement. Rooted in progressive Jewish values, IRAC advocates on behalf of a broadly inclusive Israeli democracy and strives for freedom of religion and conscience, human equality, social justice, religious tolerance, and individual rights. IRAC works to advance pluralism in Israeli society and to defend the freedoms of conscience, faith and religion.
IRAC works to:
Fight racism and advance a shared society between Jews and Arabs in Israel.
Fight religious extremism and gender segregation in the public domain.
Advance religious freedom and dismantle the Orthodox rabbinate's monopoly.
Secure egalitarian treatment of all manifestations of Jewish culture and religion and equal status for the Reform and Conservative movements
Lighting the Candles
Blessed are you, Adonai our God, Sovereign of the universe, who hallows us with mitzvot, commanding us to kindle the light of Shabbat.
Baruch atah, Adonai, Eloheinu,
melech haolam, asher kid'shanu b'mitzvotav, v'tzivanu l'hadlik ner
בָּרוּך אַתָּה יְיָ אֱלהֵינוּ
מֶלֶך הָעוֹלָם אַשֶׁר קִדְשָנוּ בְּמִצְוֹתָיו וְצִוָנוּ לְהַדְלִיק נֵר שֶל שַבָּת
Blessed are you, Adonai our God, Sovereign of the universe, Creator of the fruit of the vine.
Baruch atah, Adonai, Eloheinu,
Melech Haolam, borei p'ri
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ אֱלהֵינוּ
מֶלֶךְ הָעולָם בּורֵא פְּרִי הַגָּפֶן
Praise to You, Adonai our God, Sovereign of the universe
who finding favor with us, sanctified us with mitzvot.
In love and favor, You made the holy Shabat our heritage
as a reminder of the work of Creation.
As first among our sacred days, it recalls the Exodus from Egypt.
You chose us and set us apart from the peoples.
In love and favor You have given us Your holy Shabbat as an inheritance.
Praise to You, Adonai, who sanctifies Shabbat.
Baruch atah, Adonai Eloheinu,
asher kid'shanu b'mitzvotav
v'Shabbat kodsho b'ahavah
zikaron l'maaseih v'reishit.
Ki hu yom t'chilah
zecher litziat Mitzrayim.
Ki vanu vacharta, v'otanu
kidashta, mikol haamim.
V'Shabbat kodsh'cha b'ahavah
Baruch atah, Adonai,
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ אֱלֹהֵינוּ
אֲשֶׁר קִדְּשָׁנוּ בְּמִצְוֹתָיו
וְשַׁבָּת קָדְשׁוֹ בְּאַהֲבָה
.זִכָּרוֹן לְמַעֲשֵׂה בְרֵאשִׁית
כִּי הוּא יוֹם תְּחִלָּה
.זֵכֶר לִיצִיאַת מִצְרָיִם
כִּי בָנוּ בָחַרְתָּ וְאוֹתָנוּ
קִדַּשְׁתָּ מִכָּל הָעַמִּים
וְשַׁבָּת קָדְשְׁךָ בְּאַהֲבָה
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ
Blessed are you, Adonai our God, Sovereign of the universe, Who brings forth bread from the earth
Baruch Atah Adonai, Eloheinu
Melech haolam, Hamotzi
lechem min haaretz.
בָּרוּך אַתָּה יְיָ אֱלהֵינוּ
מֶלֶך הָעוֹלָם הָמוֹציא
לֶחם מן הַארץ
Prayer for the State of Israel
O Heavenly One, Protector and Redeemer of Israel, bless the State of Israel which marks the dawning of hope for all who seek peace. Shield it beneath the wings of Your love; spread over it the canopy of Your peace; send your light and truth to all who lead and advise, guiding them with Your good counsel. Establish peace in the land and fullness of joy for all who dwell there. Amen.
tzur Yisrael v'go-alo,
bareich et m'dinat Yisrael,
reishit tzmichat g'ulateinu.
Hagein aleha b'evrat chasdecha,
ufros aleha sukat sh'lomecha.
Ush'lach orcha vaamit'cha l'rasheha,
v'takneim b'eitzah tovah milfanecha.
V'natata shalom baaretz,
v'simchat olam l'yoshveha.
צוּר יִשְׂרָאֵל וְגוֹאֲלוֹ
בָּרֵךְ אֶת מְדִינַת יִשְׂרָאֵל
רֵאשִׁית צְמִיחַת גְּאֻלָּתֵנוּ
הָגֵן עָלֶיהָ בְּאֶבְרַת חַסְדֶּךָ
וּפְרֹשׁ עָלֶיהָ סֻכַּת שְׁלוֹמֶךָ
וּשְׁלַח אוֹרְךָ וַאֲמִתְּךָ לְרָאשֶׁיהָ
וְתַקְּנֵם בְּעֵצָה טוֹבָה מִלְּפָנֶיךָ
וְנָתַתָּ שָׁלוֹם בָּאָרֶץ
וְשִׂמְחַת עוֹלָם לְיוֹשְׁבֶיהָ
Discussion during the meal
•Many times when we pray for the State of Israel, we think about its external conflicts. We think about the safety of its people, we think about the young men and women serving in the IDF, and we think about Israel's relationships with the international community.
• But sometimes other areas are overlooked, such as the internal tensions within Israel's diverse society. In the broadest terms, Israel's population breakdown is as follows: 75% Jewish, 20% Arab, and 5% Other. Although 75% of Israelis are ethnically Jewish, they still come from a variety of backgrounds that have distinct values, cultures, religious practices, customs, and sometimes languages. In terms of religious observance, most Israeli Jews fall under one of the following subgroups: Haredi (Ultra-Orthodox) 9%, Dati (Modern Orthodox) 13%, Masorti (Traditional) 29%, Hiloni (Secular – generally includes the Reform and Conservative movements) 49%. [Learn more about each group]. The diversity of people and beliefs in Israel is sometimes a source of tension between communities
• The Israel Religious Action Center has been fighting to advance a shared society between all of these diverse communities and to limit the disproportionate influence of extremist elements over the populace. Tonight, I want to spend some discussing _____________.
Choose from one or two of the issues that you want to discuss with your group:
Gender Segregation; Racism; Religious Freedom & Dismantling the Ultra-Orthodox Monopoly; The Kotel (Western Wall); Securing Equal Status For All Streams of Judaism; LGBT Rights; Legal Aid Center For Olim; Racism Crisis Center; Marriage; Public Transportation on Shabbat; Modesty Signs in Bet Shemesh; Adoption; Burials; Conversion; Fighting Hate. Click here to view and download the one pagers that discuss these issues that IRAC works on.
•Use our materials to present on the topic(s) of your choosing (spend about 10 minutes presenting during the meal.
•Afterwards, leave 5-10 for your guests to discuss and reflect on what they learned
My God אלי
In this sacred moment, give us hope for Israel and her future.
Renew our wonder at the miracle of the Jewish State.
In the name of the pioneers who made the deserts bloom - give us the tools to cultivate a diversity of Jewish expression in Israel.
In the name of our fallen soldiers - give us courage to stand up to the words and ways of zealots. Those in our own midst and those among our neighbors.
In the name of Israeli inventors who have amazed the world with their innovations – help us apply the same ingenuity to finding a path to peace.
In the name of all these individuals - grant us the strength to conquer doubt and despair in Israel.
Replacing doubt with action.
Replacing despair with hope.
And let us say: Amen.
•Thank your guests for attending, invite them to support and learn more about the Israel Religious Action Center by visiting our website at www.irac.org. Additionally, please collect the names and emails of those interested in subscribing to our newsletter.
•End with the Birkat Hamazon (Grace after meals) or another closing prayer or song of your choosing