The idea of helping people explore their Jewish identity through the celebration of Shabbat is an initiative that excites Rabbi Boruch and Devorah Klar. The Klars discovered that families they regularly interacted with at their Judaica store, shul or Hebrew School told them that it was sharing a Shabbat meal with them that caused them to feel a deeper connection to their Judaism.
Although the Klars had been inviting Shabbat guests to their home and their shul for many years, they were still surprised to learn the impact that celebrating a Shabbat had on individuals and families. Sharing the beauty of Shabbat with people far surpassed other methods of outreach.
The wonderful mixture of warmth, the joy, the acceptance, and family feeling that was generated during a Shabbat meal was an elixir that helped create just the right atmosphere.
As Rabbi Klar states “Many Jews experience Judaism once a year during the High Holidays. But I often say that if a Jew chose only one Jewish experience of the year, it should be to celebrate Friday Night Shabbat dinner.”
As facilitators of Birthright trips to Israel, the Klars have escorted a number of young Jewish people on a 10-day trip to Israel.
Rabbi Klar explains that: “For me it was a wonderful experience to watch the impact connecting with the Land of Israel and celebrating their Judaism had on these kids. The highlight of our trip was sharing a Shabbat with our group, and seeing how our teens responded - it was a joy and a privilege to see!”
Watching these teens celebrating Shabbat led Rabbi Klar to ask the following question: “Wouldn’t it be great to find a universal way to help anyone and everyone connect to their Yiddishkeit?”
The idea of creating a Shabbat House was born!