Bloomberg Businessweek

Holla for Challah!

Startups are selling a version of Jewish culture that’s light on the Bible, heavy on the Bubbies

In 2015, while traveling in Israel with 80 young tech professionals, Meghan Holzhauer fell in love with Shabbat dinner, the ancient Friday night tradition in which Jews bless candles, challah, and wine, then share a meal with loved ones. She was so inspired, in fact, that she started spreading the love. In March her travel startup, Canvus, took 40 young professionals to Mexico City, where they celebrated a multicultural Shabbat dinner. She’s now organizing a hip-hop Shabbat for 400 people attending a social justice conference in Atlanta in June. “A lot of Jewish rituals are about honoring friends and family,” she says. “You feel part of something bigger.”

Holzhauer isn’t Jewish. She was raised “Christian-light” by nonpracticing parents, she says, and has no interest in converting. As she explains it, a non-Jew finding inspiration in the Sabbath—or traveling to Israel for that matter—isn’t so different from the millions of non-Buddhists who practice yoga

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from Bloomberg Businessweek

Bloomberg Businessweek7 min readPolitics
Holding the World Economy Hostage
Sun Tzu, the author of the 2,500-year-old The Art of War, is overquoted, but even in ancient China he knew the value of asymmetrical warfare—how smaller forces, such as guerrillas or today’s drones, possess advantages over huge ones, like standing ar
Bloomberg Businessweek4 min read
Britain’s Botched Welfare Overhaul
Universal Credit was a good idea that became bad policy, helping crystallize support for Brexit
Bloomberg Businessweek3 min read
Your Japanese Whisky May Be Mostly Scotch
In less than a decade, Japanese whisky has risen from relative obscurity to the most sought-after liquor on the planet. Much of that demand has been driven by U.S. and European drinkers who, whether consciously or not, are seduced by the mysticism o