Become a Shabbat Dinner Host

Birthright Israel alumni! Help make Jewish life more vibrant and inclusive on campus

Nominate a Student


Become a Host

Here's How it Works

What You'll Learn

  • How to plan a menu, shop, and serve a first class dinner
  • Crowd pleasing recipes optimized for a busy schedule
  • Friday night Shabbat rituals and traditions
  • Tips for facilitating interesting dinner conversations
  • Ways to break the ice and make new guests feel welcome

Host Gifts

As you host, you will earn credits to select beautiful Judaica from our gift shop. You get to choose the items that you love.

  • Q Who’s eligible to become a Shabbat host?

    You must be a Birthright Israel alum in college. If you’re a young professional check out OneTable. If you haven’t been yet look into a free trip to Israel with Birthright Israel.

  • Q What if I dont observe Shabbat regularly or know about the traditions?

    Becoming a Bring Back Shabbat host is a great way to learn! Part of our training includes an orientation to Shabbat, the blessings, rituals and traditions. It’s up to you to make the meal meaningful.

  • Q Whats the commitment?

    You commit to hosting 2-3 Shabbat dinners each semester with 10 – 20 guests. You’re open to extending a wide invitation and inviting new and old friends.

  • Q Whats a coach?

    Once you’re accepted to Bring Back Shabbat you’ll be introduced to a friendly, knowledgeable coach. They will set up a 30 minute orientation with you and be your point person to debrief and brainstorm ideas.

  • Q How does the money work?

    We sponsor $10 per guest up to 20 guests. You can spend the money on any of your food costs for Shabbat. Hold onto your receipts and upload them after. Once you’ve submitted the reimbursement form we will mail you a check within 3 weeks.

  • Q Does the food I serve have to be kosher?

    We encourage hosts to find kosher options. We’ll send you menu ideas and recipes. When possible we can recommended grocery stores and caterers that deliver to your area.

  • Q How many Shabbat hosts can there be on one campus?

    We interview many applicants to get the best quality hosts! Depending on the size of the campus we generally select 3 – 5 hosts to open their doors and welcome peers for Shabbat.

  • Q Can I invite my friends?

    As a host, we want you to create warmth and connections between your friends from Birthright Israel, peers on campus, and people who you invite that you may not know as well.

  • Q Can a Hillel staff person or trip organizer host?

    We don’t fund organizations or events hosted by staff. Our goal is to infuse campus life with student led Shabbat dinners and to empower students to assume leadership roles among their peers.


Meet Our Staff

David Pardo
Executive Director

Rabbi David Pardo is the Director of Birthright Follow Up at the Orthodox Union, servicing thousands of Birthright alumni across the country every year. He was previously the co-director of OU-JLIC at Brandeis University, and prior to that the Director of Education at The House in Toronto. He has worked with Jews in the 18-32 age demographic from every background in three countries for over a decade. After getting his BA from UCLA and pursuing a career in finance, he left Merrill Lynch in 2007 to work for the community. He has rabbinic ordination from RIETS and an MBA from Brandeis University, with specific interest in social impact, strategic management, and big data, all of which is reflected in his current work. A Los Angeles native, he lives with his wife and three daughters in New Jersey, where he is a local shul rabbi.

Nina Garkavi
Shabbat Coach

Nina supports Bring Back Shabbat hosts as our resident Shabbat Coach. She went on a Birthright trip herself and hosted shabbat meals afterwards — and reflects back on that being a positive experience which allowed her to strengthen her commitment to Shabbat and meeting new Jews in her community. Nina has a BS in Marketing and Minor in Management Info Systems from YU’s Sy Syms School of Business and an MA in Public Administration from Seattle University. Though the Seahawks aren’t doing as well, she proudly wears her blue or green wigs on blue Fridays and game days! Nina is a very active volunteer and advocate in many local and national cancer survivorship organizations. She has spoken at various fundraisers and speaks openly about the importance of getting involved and helping wherever you can in your local communities! Nina currently lives in the Greater Seattle Area and is a coffee addict who supports her local start up co. Starbucks!

Hart Levine
Mentor Program Liasion

Hart Levine lives in Washington Heights. He works with the Orthodox Union on connecting Jews to meaningful Jewish community, both on college campuses around America (Heart to Heart) and in the Heights (The Beis Community).

Learn about the Jewish rituals & traditions of Friday night.

Then, make them your own.


Share the Experience Share Shabbat.