Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Guest post: Happy post part one

A happy update to hospitality!

Last week, I wrote about the difficulties in socializing in the community and feeling like a permanent outsider. One key area that generated comments was Shabbat hospitality. I mentioned in the comments, the shul sent out an email a few days ago encouraging people to invite a new face or pay back invites extended previously. Very very rarely has an invite from the hospitality come through, a fews times in nearly two years (when it wasn't a communal event). Generally the weeks I've requested either alone or with one other friend, the results were Thursday AM getting the “we're working on plans for you” email then the very last minute (Friday afternoon) discouraging cold email “sorry no hosts available this week,” This is why I end up hosting so often since I'll have to cover for myself anyways. I got use to it, but sure it does sting to have to do everything one's self week after week while seeing everyone else joining plans with friends or people meeting up with their meal hosts after shul. Very difficult to get to know people when one keeps trying but not finding a way of fitting in.

This week after exchanging comments on the other posts, I had had it after it was suggested I was being 'conditional' to hope to be treated like a normal Jew, which supposedly I am. As my friends are away now that schools out, I resolved I'll not bother with other people on shabbat. My plan as of midweek was that I'll just eat by myself until my friends come back this fall, not bother with all the formalities or added expenses (summers are tighter for me as work slows significantly), and the extra home cleaning to look presentable. Just have a chilled shabbat dinner with my favorite take-out sandwich, my favorite drink, enjoy it while reading from the ever growning pile of 'must read' books I have, and get use to this for a while. BUT just on Thursday afternoon, I got invites for BOTH dinner and lunch out. I don't think I've ever had this experience ever having two hosts that didn't know me have me over. Sure one was a vegan meal, but it could have been just a few bites challah and hot water for all I cared. Both invites were from young families I did not know. I have no idea if that shul email encouraged folks to host guests, or that now that school's out, perhaps the deamnd of guests looking for hosts has gone down. I'm thinking a higher priority goes to students wanting meals as opposed to other folks in the neighborhood, I am not sure on this though. Will ponder that in just a moment.


  1. The only priority that should be given is to people that have no one to eat by for both Shabbos/Yom Tov.

  2. I'm the guest poster:

    In fairness, I could see students who lived in dorms away from home and family having priority over someone living in a regular apartment. The undergrad dorm I stay at for one term, didn't have kitchens for student use, just cafeteria. I was allow a small fridge and a microwave in my room, but a hot plate wasn't allowed. So for an on campus student, Shabbat food options would be cold food only or eating in the cafeteria if it is open for Shabbat. In grad school where I did a summer residency, the dorm did have a central kitchen shared by 8-10 folks. I suppose if one could trust a roommate (likely either not observant or Jewish) not to mess with one's food, the arrangement would be better.

    If it were a choice between inviting me or a student in such scenario, I would have no hard feelings in the student receiving priority over me. I would consider they have the greater need than I do. I have my own apt, can have a plata and crock pot on, and although funds are tight, I can treat myself to take-out. Students that live off campus would pretty much be in the same situation as I am.