Bringing Shabbat Closer to Home: The Shabbat Hosting Lab Initiative at GMU

Tidewater Jewish Foundation's (TJF) Community Impact Grant program has paved the way for an innovative approach to celebrating Shabbat at Mason Hillel at George Mason University, aimed at engaging the diverse Jewish student population. 

With over a quarter-century legacy of fostering Jewish life and learning, Mason Hillel recognized the need for evolution in its Shabbat offerings. While traditional campus gatherings have been a cornerstone of their program, there was a clear call for more accessible, peer-led Shabbat experiences. This insight led to the development of the Shabbat Hosting Lab, designed to empower students to create meaningful Shabbat events within their micro-communities, whether in dorms, apartments, parks, or cafes.

The initiative's pilot phase saw the participation of 10 students, who, under the guidance of Mason Hillel staff, honed their skills in hosting and creating Shabbat experiences that resonate with their peers. This hands-on approach facilitates Jewish learning and relationship building and supports cultivating a vibrant, innovative Shabbat culture on campus.

Mason Hillel - Shabbat Lab

Thanks to the support from TJF fundholders, the Shabbat Hosting Lab is not just an event but a movement towards inclusivity and personal growth. It highlights the power of grant funding in transforming the landscape of Jewish student life, making it more reflective of today's generation's diverse needs and creative spirits.

As we look forward to the expansion of this program, the Shabbat Hosting Lab is creating a new paradigm for Jewish engagement. Through the continued generosity of TJF fundholders, we are not just funding projects; we are investing in the future of Jewish identity and expression.

Mason Hillel - Shabbat LabMason Hillel - Shabbat Lab