What do dinner, dildos and Torah have in common? They were all part of a community event proclaimed Good Vibrations: Sex Shop Shabbat.
Held on Friday, May 31, Sex Shop Shabbat aimed to foster community between women who wanted to explore their bodies and their spirituality. The event was hosted by OneTable, a Jewish nonprofit that encourages millennial community-building around the weekly ritual of Shabbat, and Awakening, an independent sex and wellness boutique.
OneTable's Natalie Bergner invited participants to question what Jewish tradition has to say about intimacy and how the two intersect. Participants analyzed passages from Jewish scripture — some of which depict passion and sexual intimacy and others which command women to be subservient to men. Participants compared these teachings and dug into the conflicting messages.
After that discussion, Tory Johnson, one of the founders of Awakening, answered questions about sex, toys and her boutique. Participants rattled off an array of questions, addressing things like bondage and how to introduce sex toys into a relationship. Johnson answered each question with conviction.
That's no surprise; Awakening was designed to foster a sense of healthy sexual curiosity and desire for play. Johnson and her business partner, Rose Kalasz, created Awakening because they were "struck at how uncomfortable and embarrassing" the average sex shop made them feel. "The only stores available were sleazy and intimidating," they explain on the company's website, so they set out to do better.
This effort was not lost on the ladies of Sex Shop Shabbat, many of whom raved about how comfortable they felt in the space and how they wanted to return to the boutique, both alone and with their partners.
After the sex Q&A and a few glasses of champagne, the group gathered to usher in the Shabbath with traditional prayers over candles, wine and challah. The ceremony was protected in a back corner of the shop, where an army of dildos stood watch.
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Then the women — which included rabbis' daughters and sex-industry marketers — packed up and headed to dinner a few doors away at Gozo, where they had the opportunity to reflect on Judaism, intimacy, and what it means to fuze the two in everyday life.
OneTable's mission is to use Shabbat as "an act of rebellion against a constantly moving world," the group's materials explain. "We bring ritual to the table not because we have to, but because disconnecting in order to intentionally connect, separate from the work week, and build community is holy — and really good for you."
OneTable is non-denominational and brings people together to help them slow down and unplug with each other. If you're interested in finding a place to share a meal and welcome the respite of the weekend, explore OneTable events in Colorado and around the world. This week's calendar includes a Farm Fest Shabbat and a Friday night on the town in Aspen. Most OneTable events are free for both hosts and guests.