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SWF Gathering

Shabbat with Friends Gatherings: The Signature Program of SWF

Shabbat with Friends (SWF) gatherings embody the Jewish tradition of making the Sabbath a delight, in Hebrew, ‘Oneg Shabbat’. Held in homes and special venues in Santa Fe and ABQ, Shabbat with Friends gatherings are only held on the Jewish Sabbath (from Friday evening to Saturday nightfall).


The aims of SWF gatherings are to  

  • bring diverse people together in joy and fellowship.  

  • cultivate a love of the Sabbath.  

  • deepen Jewish identity. 

  • inspire more Jews to host Shabbat meals in their homes and to welcome guests.   

  • build a loving sense of community.  

  • share the Sabbath with our friends from other faiths and cultures.  

  • Many SWF gatherings feature our Oneg Shabbos Ensemble. These talented musicians and vocalists share beautiful music that inspires participatory group singing of our precious legacy of Sabbath songs and wordless melodies (nigunim).  Other conversation centered Shabbat gatherings engage people in thought-provoking conversations on things that matter. All our gatherings include traditional Sabbath rituals and blessings.     

    SWF is led by Rabbi Dov Gartenberg who is our “Convener” and works to bring people together. SWF gatherings are free, open to the community, child-friendly, and include all ages and backgrounds. Every SWF gathering is welcoming, satiating, joyful, and spiritually fulfilling. 

SWF Havdallah gathering
rick speaking with naomi

Shabbat with Friends Hosting Program

The goal of Shabbat with Friends is to recapture together the joy of Shabbat. The Shabbat host is the key to a joyful and spiritually uplifting Shabbat experience. SWF devotes considerable time and effort recruiting, training, and supporting hosts.


What are we looking for in a Shabbat host?

  • A person(s) who enjoys bringing people together around a Sabbath meal.

  • A person(s) who enjoys meeting new people and connecting them to one another. 

  • A person(s) who enjoys sharing their space and making people feel comfortable in it. 

  • A person(s) who is animated by the mitzvot of honoring the Shabbat and of the welcoming of guests (Hachnasat Orchim).

  • Any person(s) who would like to learn the above and become a practitioner of Jewish hospitality. 


All the practical concerns about hosting: timing, invitations, setup, the presentation, the rituals, the food, the content of the gathering, the sendoff, and the cleanup are fully supported by Shabbat with Friends. We directly help our hosts in every way to make their Shabbat with Friends Gathering a beautiful and memorable experience. 
Interested in hosting? Setup a meeting with the SWF Hosting Team to begin planning your gathering.

Request for Consultation to Host a SWF Gathering.

I am located in:
Preferred Shabbat meal:

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Exploring the Jewish Experience Course

The Exploring the Jewish Experience (EJE) Course offers an engaging study of Judaism and the Jewish people, touching on the most consequential teachings, history, and enduring characteristics of one of the oldest continuous religions and cultures.


The course is designed for a wide variety of adult participants. 

  • Jews seeking a more in depth understanding of their heritage.

  • Persons who are curious about Jews and Judaism and are disturbed by anti-Semitism. 

  • Persons of different faiths and cultures who want to better understand the background of a Jewish partner and/or the cultural/religious background they wish to impart to their children.

  • Persons who wish to fulfill the year of study perquisite to convert to Judaism.


The EJE Course meets year-round. It is divided into three trimesters: Fall: Jewish history, thought, and antisemitism. Winter/Spring: Jewish ethical and ritual practice and Jewish understandings of God. Summer: Dimensions of Jewish culture. New participants may join prior to the beginning of any trimester.

The course is offered in-person in Albuquerque and in Santa Fe and can be taken remotely online. It is taught by a team of teachers led by Rabbi Dov Gartenberg of Shabbat with Friends. Teachers include Rabbi Jack Shlachter and Joy Rosenberg. The course is cosponsored by HaMakom of Santa Fe and is affiliated with the Miller Introduction to Judaism Program of the American Jewish University. The EJE Course is partially funded by a grant from the National Center to Encourage Judaism. 

For more information about the EJE Course and to obtain an application for enrollment, contact Rabbi Dov Gartenberg

Havrata at camp ramah

Conversion to Judaism Program

All forms of Judaism support a path to conversion to Judaism. While Jewish movements Judaism do not engage in formal missionizing or active proselytizing of gentiles, any serious person can initiate a process of conversion to Judaism by meeting with an accredited rabbi. Persons who seek to convert to Judaism are accepted through a process of preparation and study supervised by a rabbi. There is great diversity within Judaism on the requirements for conversion ranging from very stringent to very lenient. 

Shabbat with Friends offers a program for conversion that welcomes persons interested in Judaism and provides a year of engaging and illuminating study and exposure to authentic Jewish experiences. Together this process helps a sincere convert to build a foundation for a meaningful and engaged Jewish life.  Rabbi Dov Gartenberg has mentored over 500 converts over his career and has guided their entry into Jewish community. He has vast experience in mentoring converts and helping them to navigate the unique journey of casting their lot with the Jewish people. 

The SWF conversion program usually takes a year and comprises:

  • Study in the Exploring the Jewish Experience Course for a full year cycle.  

  • Learning rudimentary Hebrew to participate in Jewish religious and cultural activities. 

  • Exposure to a wide variety of authentic Jewish communal experiences over the duration of a year. 

  • Regular participation in the twice monthly Sunday morning Learners’ Minyan offered by Shabbat with Friends which begins in January 2024.

Contact and set up a meeting with Rabbi Gartenberg, SWF Convener, to share your journey and to discuss the program.

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