Hosting an Oneg Shabbat or Kiddush

Hosting an oneg or kiddush is an excellent way to share community with fellow congregants. Our community is built upon the ongoing contributions of all of our members. This yearly obligation, which is often shared by two member households, is just one way that you can contribute to the community. We look forward to your involvement in the mitzvah of hachnasat orchim, hospitality.

An oneg or kiddush is the food put out after Shabbat services. Lingering, talking, and eating after services on Shabbat adds to the feeling of Shabbat being different from other days of the week when we rush to get to our next activity. It also lets us meet and greet other members of our community.

According to the prophet Isaiah, the Sabbath shall be a delight. By having something sweet to nosh on, delight is added to Shabbat. Abraham was known for his hospitality and Rabbis in the Talmud valued hospitality so highly they said it takes precedence over the house of study and welcoming the divine presence. (Shabbat 127a)

What to offer:

The food you provide for an oneg (Friday night) or kiddush (Saturday morning) can be as simple or as elaborate as you wish. It should include at least:

  • grape juice and, if you'd like, wine (Israeli or kosher wine preferred, but not required)
  • challah (no challah is needed for Young Family Services, class hosts will provide one for dinner)
  • a sweet treat such as cookies or cake
  • something healthy such as fruit or vegetables, etc.


If you would like to offer something more substantial, you could consider:

  • pita and hummus or other dips
  • cheese and crackers
  • a special homemade recipe
  • additional drinks (coffee, tea, soda, water)
  • bagels and spreads (usually only for Saturday morning)
  • fish platters or other luncheon fare (usually only for Saturday morning) 

How many people to expect:

Usually 20 - 30 people attend services - fewer on a secular holiday weekend, more if there is a special event or speaker.

If the Oneg or Kiddush will be followed by a potluck meal (e.g. Torah Treks):

If there is to be a potluck meal, there will only be one host family. Your responsibility is to bring challah, grape juice/wine and a sweet treat. If you are staying for the potluck, please also bring a contribution to that meal. You are responsible for pouring the wine or juice and setting out the items you brought. Clean up on these occasions will most likely be handled by those who participate in the pot-luck meal and your help is welcome.

Kashrut Policies (dietary guidelines):

Congregation Beth Israel and its grounds, including the kitchens, are dairy/vegetarian facilities and may only be used to prepare dairy/vegetarian meals. All onegs, kiddushes and potluck dinners are dairy/vegetarian and foods containing meat or meat products may not be brought into the synagogue for these occasions. With the exception of kosher synagogue-sponsored meals, meat is not included at an oneg, kiddush or potluck. At certain times of the year (e.g., Passover), additional dietary laws will also be present. If you have any questions about food you would like to bring, please ask the Rabbi or Religious Practice Committee chair(s).

Set up and clean up:

As oneg or kiddush host(s), you are responsible for setting up the food and drinks and cleaning up afterwards. Food and drinks should be set up on the tables in the back of the sanctuary.

  • Begin setting out food and drinks during Aleinu (which is often just after the d'var or sermon). Or, you could set them out before the service and cover everything with napkins.
  • Pour cups of wine (small cups) and/or grape juice (larger cups).
  • Place the challah on a platter and cover it with a napkin or challah cover.
  • Bring up from the kitchen any unmarked, leftover bottles of soda or other drinks, if you wish.
  • Make sure to clean and put away any items that were used or left over.
  • Tie a knot in the garbage bag, if it is full. 

Paper goods and serving trays: 

  • There is a rolling cart in the room with the copy machine next to the office that has many paper goods and condiments. Additional supplies are in the kitchen in the basement.
  • Condiments and plastic wrap are in the corner cabinet by the microwave.
  • Plates, bowls, cups and napkins are in the cabinets on the right.
  • Plastic ware is in the drawers or bottom cabinets on the right.
  • Serving platters and bowls are in the bottom cabinets on the right.
  • Serving utensils are in the drawers on the left.
  • If you want fancier paper goods, please bring them.
  • If you notice that any supplies are running low, please leave a note in the office. 

Setting up coffee and tea: 

  • It takes about 30 minutes to brew coffee, so plan to set it up before services.
  • Large urns are in the bottom of the corner cabinet by the microwave.
  • For a small crowd, a pot of hot water for tea or instant coffee is usually fine.
  • For a larger crowd or if you prefer brewed coffee, use 1/2 cup of ground coffee (in the refrigerator or freezer) for every 10 cups of water.
  • Please also set up an urn of hot water for those who don't want coffee.
  • Put out the tray of coffee/tea condiments (sugar, sweetener, powdered creamer, tea bags, instant coffee). It should be on the rolling cart, and extras are in the kitchen corner cabinet.
  • If you notice that any supplies are running low, please leave a note in the office. 

Oneg/kiddush partners:

You can share the responsibilities however you wish. As the date approaches, please contact each other to decide what you each will bring and do.

If you need to change your date:

If you are unable to host for your date, please find an alternate host and notify the oneg coordinator, Laura Lee Blechner. If you are unable to do any part of the set up or clean up, you are responsible for finding someone to help out.

Questions?

If you have further questions, please contact Laura Lee Blechner.

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