A New Way to Make Space for Shabbat and Havdalah

By Laura Conrad Mandel, Executive Director, Jewish Arts Collaborative

The Break was an endeavor to reimagine how Shabbat and Havdalah could be celebrated in Boston. Working with Reboot, CJP, Interfaith Family, Trybal Gatherings, Skip the Small Talk, Starr Yoga, and local musicians, the Jewish Arts Collaborative created an experience at Brooklyn Boulders that was unlike any other that has been seen in Boston. 

Here's what we learned and loved:

Tarot card reading is trendy right now — but did you also know there’s a long history of Jewish fortune telling? Card readings at The Break gave people a chance to open themselves up for a few moments of deep reflection on their own lives and challenges. 

You can plug in to unplug. The new VR experience we had set up in a yoga studio was relaxing in a totally new way. It visually and mentally brought people out of the physical world and into a space that let them completely check out for five minutes. Set in a quiet room while complete with yoga mats and tea for sipping, this new experience created a seriously calming break space. Special thanks to Jon Pardo, Steve Pardo, Jeff Hesser, and Mike Mandel for creating and facilitating The Circle experience.

Convening over convo is key. The Trybal Gatherings and the Skip the Small Talk areas became comfortable spaces for deep conversations, internal reflection, and just plain fun social interaction. How often do we take the time to stop and do this?  

You don't need blessings to create a holy space. Rabbi Jillian Cameron of Interfaith Family created an open reflective environment that touched on the separation of the holy and the everyday, minus any blessings. She created a multisensory experience while explaining the meaning of wine over grape Pop Rocks, awakening our senses with the sweet spices of Union Square donuts, and separating the light and the dark. It all culminated with the Party Band brass band ushering us into the week with an impromptu dance party. ​


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