Musical Shabbat Table FAQs

How much does it cost to do a Musical Shabbat Table at Home?

The Heart of Shabbat Ensemble does not charge for coming to Shabbat events in private homes. Our aim is to stimulate Shabbat hospitality and Shabbat renewal. Donations to Panim Hadashot-New Faces, a 501C3 non profit are welcome. Donations by hosts and guests who experience the Musical Shabbat Table enable us to reach many more households. We never accept donations on Shabbat, but ask that you support Panim Hadashot with online donations or subscriptions to Panim Hadashot HERE.  Donations may also be sent by mail to our office. Click on Contact Us.

When can our Musical Shabbat Table take place on Shabbat? 

We recommend Friday evening, Saturday lunch, or late Saturday afternoon/early evening, culminating with Havdallah.  All three times are good and have distinct music, moods, and ambiance.

What actually happens at a Musical Shabbat Table at your home?

The Heart of Shabbat Ensemble will play at least two 20-30 minute medleys of Shabbat/Jewish music as part of your Shabbat meal. We mix familiar songs with new songs. We will take requests as well. We are very experienced in inspiring people to sing together.

We bring songsters or song sheets with transliterations of Hebrew songs so everyone can participate.  Rabbi Gartenberg adds succinct commentary to the songs or Shabbat and Jewish teachings.

 We have done over thirty Musical Shabbat Tables in homes and community rooms. Read the testimonials to see what people are saying about these experiences.

What do you recommend about inviting guests?

The Musical Shabbat Table thrives with groups of ten or more people.  We average between 25 to 30 persons at our events with some as small as 12 and others as big as 50.  Before the event, identify how many you are comfortable inviting to your space. We have found that it is better to invite more than you can accommodate, since about 20 to 50% of the guests you invite will not be able to come or will cancel on the day of due to illness or other reasons, We have sample invites that you can send to your guests that you can send to your guests.

 What if I did not grow up with any Shabbat rituals or much of a Jewish background?

The Heart of Shabbat Ensemble can lead the Shabbat rituals and the evening’s festivities, so you can relax and absorb this beautiful Jewish experience.  This is a wonderful opportunity to be exposed to the beautiful home traditions.  Panim Hadashot also offers host mentoring and classes on dimensions of doing Shabbat to build your own practice over time.  Check out these opportunities HERE

Can I host if my partner is not Jewish?

Of course.  We invite your partner to participate in every aspect of the event.

Can we invite non-Jewish guests?

Of course. This is such a wonderful experience to share with people from all backgrounds.

What if my home is not kosher? 

We are happy to bring the Musical Shabbat Table to hosts who do not keep the kosher dietary laws. We only ask that if you don’t have a kosher home that the potluck, take out, or prepared meal be vegetarian or pescatarian.

 What do you recommend doing for the Shabbat meal?   

We want to make the meal as easy as possible for hosts.  Here are some options to consider.

Option 1:  Do an easy-to-do vegetarian/fish potluck. We call it a Shabbatluck.  The host does not need to coordinate dishes with the invitees. All guests are invited to bring two dishes to share — an entrée, a side or a dessert, enough to feed themselves and the household members of the host. The host supplies challot, drinks, and wine, and sets up the table or dining area.  If you are a techie, we recommend an App called “Thing to Bring” that makes doing a Shabbatluck really easy.

Option 2:  Order pizzas and salad or Chinese food. For us the hospitality and the  joy of Shabbat is more important than doing the food to traditional standards.

Option 3: Make the meal yourself.  This is more expensive and time consuming, but some hosts love to do this and you have our blessing.

For hosts who keep a Kosher home: We will honor your practice and follow your guidelines on how to organize the meal.

Who are the “new faces” that Panim Hadashot brings to the Musical Shabbat Table?

With the permission of our hosts, we bring between 2-4 new faces to your event from our New Faces Havurah.  The purpose of the Havurah is to build a Shabbat practice and to meet new people who share the same interest. Bringing new faces provides hosts with the opportunity to share Shabbat with strangers. At the same time our new faces learn the traditions, melodies, and customs of Shabbat home practice.

 What if my space is too small to host a Musical Shabbat Table?

Panim Hadashot-New Faces has access to free space that can hold up to 40 persons in Greenwood.  Check with Rabbi Gartenberg to see if this space is available on dates that you are considering. Rabbi Gartenberg will check to see when it is available for you to use.

What if hosting is a financial strain?

We are sensitive to this issue.  That is why we do not charge for the Musical Shabbat Table.  Also consider doing a “Shabbatluck” to share the costs of time and burden of preparation(see below).  Consider cohosting with a friend or another household.