Introducing Oneg: The Joy of Shabbat
I’m Jeanie Milbauer, mother of three, entrepreneur and a committed Jewish community activist. Oneg was founded to help people make Friday night Shabbat accessible, meaningful, beautiful and fun. My Shabbat journey began slowly, and now, I am officially launching Oneg.
I’m Jeanie Milbauer, mother of three, entrepreneur and a committed Jewish community activist. Oneg, created with an incredibly talented team, was founded to help people make Friday night Shabbat accessible, meaningful, beautiful and fun.
My Shabbat journey began in earnest when I had kids. But it began slowly. An occasional Shabbat dinner. A quick candle lighting. And food. But over time, it became more and more.
I worked to understand the ritual better. I had a kiddush cup and challah cover from my family of origin, and over time added to it with objects I found beautiful, layering the traditional with the new. I had some prayer books from a friend’s bat mitzvah that were beautiful but not accessible, so we did our best. We had friends and families over to help make the night special.
Note of encouragement: My kids used to complain about all the guests. One Friday night when they were young I gave in to avoid all the kvetching. Sure enough, more complaints. “Just our family, no guests?” Since then, whether it’s a group of friends or a quick invite to a neighbor, we have made Shabbat a time to connect and reconnect. Nary a complaint from kids!
We tried a bowl for smartphones. Over dinner I started my practice of sharing tiny tidbits of Torah I was learning. And, I mean tiny. I liked that it added something different and enhancing to the conversation on meaningful topics we might normally not talk about.
Shabbat became a weekly blessing – a pause, a break from the week, a calming and powerful ritual. And I thought: If I needed an easier path in, I’m probably not alone. Which is what led to Oneg’s first offering: the Shabbat Box.
The Shabbat Box is a curated mix of contemporary, thoughtfully crafted ritual objects – candlesticks, challah cover, kiddush cup, guidebook, conversation cards and more – all built to be guiding and welcoming with handcrafted tools in a beautiful box holding all you need for a easy, meaningful, fun Shabbat. In addition, we’re building out a website with a ton of information, including weekly torah insights, recipes and the melodies for prayers. It will also be a place to build community.
In the end, it’s all about spreading the joy and meaning of Shabbat that I’ve shared with so many over the years. I’m so excited to share that enthusiasm and love with the larger community of people who will gain so much from this ritual. So many of you told me the Shabbat Box is a perfect gift for a family member or friend, or to honor a special life transition including weddings, graduations or a loved one moving to a new city or into a new home.
So now, as I’m about to officially launch Oneg, I’m thinking back in gratitude to our dedicated staff and to all the people who helped road-test the Shabbat Box, offering me suggestions and enthusiasm. Your support has kept me going, and allowed me to undertake this incredible journey.
Join me in sharing the joy of Shabbat.
Let me know what you think! Keep the feedback and ideas coming….we’re always looking for ways to engage and do more.