Israel 75: Why is Shabbat Meaningful to You?

Meredith and Stephen Moss

The smell of chicken soup simmering on the stove, the first bite of warm challah or the light emanating from the lit candles, these are just a few ways that Shabbat can bring joy to a Jewish life by disconnecting from a busy week.

As a way to share in the day of rest as a community, the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia is hosting Shabbat Gatherings across the region in honor of Israel’s 75th anniversary on April 28-29. From large community Shabbat events to young adult groups to private functions in homes – everyone is invited to participate in the collective Jewish experience.

“Greater Philadelphia’s Jewish community will join together with Jews around the world to blend countless different customs into one Shabbat as we celebrate yet another milestone illustrating the resilience of our people,” said Max Moline, director of community development at the Jewish Federation.

In anticipation of these community-wide celebrations, we asked some of the event leadership why Shabbat is meaningful to them.

“Shabbat is a time for our family to all be together and share things that happened during the week. We like inviting friends over to enjoy the special dinner and Jewish traditions together.”

  • Meredith and Stephen Moss, Israel 75 Shabbat Gatherings chairs
Yoella Epstein and Jeremy Kriger

“Shabbat is meaningful to our family, because it provides a regular opportunity to connect with each other and with our community while temporarily disconnecting from work and school. We enjoy making each Shabbat unique with themed meals and by talking about the weekly Torah portion.”

-Yoella Epstein and Jeremy Kriger, Israel 75 Shabbat Gatherings chairs

“Shabbos is also a time for me to be with family. I am blessed to be able to have Shabbos dinners with my wife and my 95-year-old father. Every Shabbos, I sing the Aishes Chayil, A Woman of Valor, to my wife as a way to thank her for everything she does for me and how we have built a life together.”

-Nason Russ, Israel 75 Shabbat Gatherings Committee member

Nason Russ

“Shabbat is a break from the busy week, providing quality time for us to be together as a family.  We love sharing our Shabbat traditions, like freshly baked challah and a kiddush fountain, with friends and then leisurely eating Shabbat dinner together. Between the light from the candles and the joy around a table, Shabbat gives us joyful, Jewish experiences as a family.”

  • Lysa Puma, Israel 75 Shabbat Gatherings Committee member


Ready to share the meaning of Shabbat with your neighborhood? In honor of Israel 75, join the Jewish Federation by celebrating Shabbat in Greater Philadelphia with your family, friends and community on Friday, April 28 and Saturday, April 29 at

Lysa Puma


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