by Stephanie Slesinger P ’23, ’27
Walk into the 84th Street campus on any Friday morning, and you’ll find that there is a palpable buzz in the air. Parents seem to mill about a little longer and there is an extra warmth to the building.
Why? Because it is Shabbat!
Shabbat tables were introduced to RSS only a few years ago by Debra Wasserman, our past Parents Association President. Debra strongly believed that “Fridays should have a different feel from the rest of the week,” so she and the PA Executive Board sought a way to communicate this sentiment to our entire community. Soon after, Shabbat Tables were born!
All of our students, from the Twos through 8th Grade, already celebrate Shabbat with their classmates, teachers, and the clergy, with each grade honoring it in their own unique way. The Shabbat Tables add another layer to this sense of Shabbat being a special time at RSS. “It gives parents, grandparents, caregivers, and children the opportunity to pause and welcome the Sabbath,” says Debra. “Right here in our lobby, families can start their day with the multi-sensorial beauty of Shabbat, experiencing a sense of community, celebration, and joy.”
The PA has built on the success of the original Shabbat Tables and now organizes monthly tables at 79th Street and Jewish Holiday Tables at both campuses. But the weekly 84th Street Shabbat Tables for our youngest students are at the heart of this new tradition. Staffed by Class Parents and additional parent volunteers, they have become a welcome part of our Friday rituals. Children excitedly bound up for a piece of challah and the table becomes a meeting point for parents and teachers alike. Alongside a tray of freshly sliced water challah, you’ll find information about upcoming events, holiday traditions, and ways to volunteer at school, making the table a great place to catch up on what’s happening at RSS.
Shabbat Tables represent more than just Fridays at RSS; they are a symbol of something deeper, more meaningful. They are a continuous testament to how active and engaged our parent body is and show how deeply our community is connected. When you walk into school on Friday mornings, it is another reminder of why RSS is an exceptional place. Wendy Waxman, who now oversees the Shabbat Tables and hosts them almost weekly says, “The first time I saw the tables and the challah being handed out, I thought this is why I came to a Jewish Day School.” We know that many parents feel the same way!
The Shabbat Tables are hosted by a rotating group of parent volunteers. Taking a shift is a fun, fast, and meaningful way to get involved at RSS. Click here to view the schedule and sign up.