openShabbat at SXSW 2014

#openShabbat is an unplugged meal & networking event on March 7 during SXSW in Austin. Meet and eat with other Members of the Tribe - no experience required!

In partnership with

What is #openShabbat?

#openShabbat is an unplugged meal and networking event for Jewish guests and locals of SXSW on the evening of March 7 in Austin.

In 2010 while attending SXSW for the first time, we hosted an ad-hoc kosher BBQ . Following the request for a meaningful un-networking experience, we returned in 2011 to host a communal Shabbat meal for some 50 people. #openShabbat was born. 

#openShabbat offers guests an island of serenity in the midst of a hyper-digital conference. With a focus on a sit-down meal, unplugged networking and face-to-face conversations, guests can meet one another in a democratized setting that encourages longform conversation. Discussions and activities create a powerful experiential learning environment. Regardless of background, knowledge or personal observance, we offer a literal seat at the table for everyone. 

#openShabbat has continued to grow by word of mouth, with attendance reaching 120 in 2013. We've been covered in various publications including The Verge and Tablet.

Our plans for 2014

This year we want to make #openShabbat even better!

We'll be hosting the meal at the Hilton, right in the heart of downtown Austin.

Every year we've grown and this year we expect nearly 200 people! In order to make sure our experience continues to grow, while retaining its unique and intimate atmosphere, we need to increase our budget. As #openShabbat is open to everyone, we need to secure our funding from outside sources. 

A full financial breakdown of costs and budget can be found on our website.

This year we're also partnering with Katsuji Tanabe, the rockstar chef of Mexikosher in Los Angeles and recent winner on the cooking show Chopped, to bring a Kosher taco-truck to Austin during the first week of SXSW! 

Help. Share. Join.

All donations towards #openShabbat are tax-deductible through our partnership with Lubavitch World Headquarters (Machane Israel) and will go directly to making the awesome #openShabbat experience in Austin. By contributing, we'll reserve a place for you by the table if you come, or say a l'chaim in your spirit if you remain abroad.

If we surpass our funding-goal, we're looking to bring #openShabbat to other conferences and communities around the world. After covering administrative costs, any additional funds will be set aside for future programming. We'll also roll over funds to a small Shabbat day meal for those interested.

We're offering a number of great perks, including our "I don't Roll on #openShabbat" t-shirt designed by Marc Lumer, a noted artist and former Visual Development Artist for Batman Beyond and other animated classics, tickets for an upcoming exclusive whiskey tasting event in New York City, and kosher tacos from our truck when it hits the streets of Austin! 

Even if you are unable to make a large donation, there are plenty of other ways to help:

  • Like #openShabbat on Facebook for future updates about the event.
  • Tweet about the campaign, Share it on Facebook. Get the word out wherever you like to connect!
  • Join us Friday, March 7 in Austin at the Hilton, 500 E 4th St, in downtown Austin for an amazing evening of unplugging and reconnecting!

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