For thousands of years, Shabbat has enriched the lives of individuals, families and communities, bringing meaning and context to the week that is ending and renewal for the week to come. MEOR invites you to join us for a free home-cooked meal, great company, singing and lively discussions around the warmth of the Shabbat table. Just let us know you are coming… and bring a friend!
Each MEOR campus has a unique and inviting Shabbat experience happening on campus every week. When you arrive, expect to be warmly invited in whether you have been coming for weeks or are brand new to the festivities. A delicious home-cooked meal will be waiting, along with lots of students and friends to meet. After the traditional Kiddush is said, you will be invited to wash your hands and have some yummy challah to start off the meal – and probably chicken soup, too! From then on, just sit back, relax, and enjoy the lively and fun conversation at the Shabbat table with your fellow classmates and MEOR staff.
I've had very few Shabbat meals that were as warm, lively, and inspiring as the ones hosted at the Maimonides apartment nearly every week. There's nothing like taking a few hours on a Friday night, Saturday afternoon, or both to spend time with friends who are on a similar Jewish journey, recharge spiritually and emotionally, and hear inspiring words of Torah designed to help us succeed both as college students and as Jews.
-Lance, University of Pennsylvania
In the bitter Chicago cold, when the workload was piling up and stress was peaking, I could always count on a warm, homey shabbat dinner at Meor. I'd to go to Meor's Shabbat dinner every week for the food, and stay for the friendship and Torah learning.
-Gil, Northwestern University
Lighting Shabbat Candles: Lighting candles signals that we are welcoming peace, tranquility, and clarity of purpose into our homes. At sundown, Jewish women across the globe will light two candles, and recite the following blessing:
Baruch Atah Hashem, Elokeinu melech ha’olam, asher kidshanu b’mitzvotav, v’tzivanu l’hadlik ner shel Shabbat.
Blessed are you Hashem our G-d, king of the universive, who sanctified us with His mitzvot, and commanded us to light the Shabbat candles.
Making Kiddush: The word kiddush is from the same root as kodsesh — holy; to elevate the physical to a level of spirituality. We welcome in Shabbat and all our holy times by making a blessing over wine or grape juice, thus elevating the physical drink to a spiritual level, along with the rest of the meal.
Washing Hands: Before we sit down to our meal, we wash our hands of any ritual impurities by taking a special cup and pouring water twice over the right hand, and twice over the left and reciting a blessing. This signifies that we are elevating our bodies to an appropriate spiritual place for the meal. We do not speak between washing hands and eating bread, in order to show the connection between the two acts.
Blessing the Challah: The head of the table will lift two challot in the air, and recite a blessing over the bread before sharing it with the rest of the table. This is the official commencement of the meal itself: enjoy!!
Shabbat Recipe: Best Challah
- 2 1/2 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
- 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
- 1/2 cup honey
- 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 3 eggs
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 8 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon poppy seeds (optional)
- In a large bowl, sprinkle yeast over barely warm water. Beat in honey, oil, 2 eggs, and salt. Add the flour one cup at a time, beating after each addition, graduating to kneading with hands as dough thickens. Knead until smooth and elastic and no longer sticky, adding flour as needed. Cover with a damp clean cloth and let rise for 1 1/2 hours or until dough has doubled in bulk.
- Punch down the risen dough and turn out onto floured board. Divide in half and knead each half for five minutes or so, adding flour as needed to keep from getting sticky. Divide each half into thirds and roll into long snake about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Pinch the ends of the three snakes together firmly and braid from middle. Either leave as braid or form into a round braided loaf by bringing ends together, curving braid into a circle, pinch ends together. Grease two baking trays and place finished braid or round on each. Cover with towel and let rise about one hour.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
- Beat the remaining egg and brush a generous amount over each braid. Sprinkle with poppy seeds if desired.
- Bake at 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) for about 40 minutes. Bread should have a nice hollow sound when thumped on the bottom. Cool on a rack for at least one hour before slicing.