Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Getting There is Half the Fun

Shabbat #13

Guests: Nana, Papa, Cousin Mia. Thanks Nana for giving me a break this week and doing the cooking. And condolences to single 30-something Mia for tolerating the kiddos for 3 days -- a very dependable form of birth control.

Menu: Chicken & Dumplings, Apple Brie Salad, Ian's Challah - made special just for us (a story in itself) and Chocolate Bread Pudding (even better cold while eaten standing next to the open fridge Saturday morning)

What I Learned:

The best thing Dad ever gave me was a love of skiing.

He started taking me to Colorado when I was six. Usually twice a year. The school district vacation never seemed to coincide with ideal ski conditions, so I usually got to miss a few days of school. But that was okay.

For two days our orange Datsun with its rooftop ski rack became my classroom. Rambling down Highway 70 I traded off between Auto Bingo and multiplication tables, collected the trappings for my Kansas diorama and tirelessly searched for license plates from all fifty states. Which was possible since people actually drove across the country back then.

Behind us followed a caravan of my parents' ski pals. Cars filled with kids who knew one another outside of the awkward elementary school bubble. Where it didn't matter which lunch table was yours or whether you had the latest lavender Izod sweater. Our parents talked on their CB radios and had their own handles. Dad was Goldfinger -- an ode to his alter-ego James Bond. We hit all the truck stops where our parents ordered up giant cinnamon rolls and chocolate milk -- knowing full well that they would soon be trapped in a car with our sugar-charged bodies.

Oh. And then there was the skiing.

Outfitted in CB Sports down parkas, rear-entry boots and 200cm+ Keastrel skis our parents raced us down mountains. Caught air on Naked Lady. Sat in hotubs in the snowfall. Sipped from wine skins. For a week they were almost, dare I say it, cool.

Ah. The memories of our ski family.

Last year history repeated itself. My dad and I took Ben skiing. We dropped him off at ski school and crossed our fingers. At the end of the day we found him slumped over the snow fencing. How'd it go? (Head pops up.) When can we do it again? Just like 30 plus years before.

This year we brought Ben and Sarah. And it was twice as good.

And twice as hard.

As a parent I now know that traveling with kids is not easy. It's hard labor. Feeding, dressing, equipping, shuttling and finally getting a kid onto the side of a mountain ranks among the most challenging things I have ever done. And then there's the planning. The missed work. The packing. The schlepping. The whining. And the expense.

Dad must have dealt with this too. (Especially the whining.) But he never let on. He drove through white outs. Put on tire chains in snow storms. Carried equipment, lunches, snacks. And me. All without ever raising his voice. Or wasting a moment calling the office, slipping in work. It was our time.

That's the kind of time I want to give Ben and Sarah. Uninterrupted, turned off, powered down, unplugged time. A week when I race them down mountains, catch air, sit in hot tubs, sip from wineskins. A week when I'm, well, cool.

Just like Dad did. And continues to do.

At 67 ... a month shy of 68, Dad placed second in his age group last week at the Nastar Championships. He beat me. Next year, he'll probably beat Ben. And in a few more years Sarah.

I grew up expecting the annual ski trip. And that's what my children can expect too.

Next year maybe we'll even drive. Because getting there was always half the fun.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Crib Note: Tzedak-who?

In 2006 just before we left for Israel my neighbor knocked on my door. That alone is startling. So rare that someone actually comes to the door these days. But Larry is old school. A year earlier he came with a cozy cab and green tractor in tow. For Ben. I can see them both now. On my patio oasis turned parking lot.

I opened the door. We exchanged pleasantries. And then he dumped a fistful of unfamiliar coins into my hand. For tzedakah, he said as I thought tzedak-who? He wished me safe travels, turned on his heel and headed back up the street.

That night when Steve came home I asked about Larry's visit. As a non-Jew back then, I hadn't a clue why our neighbor had entrusted me to carry his pocket change half way around the world. Steve explained that it was for tzedakah -- righteous giving. That Jews viewed giving as not only a responsibility, but a privilege. An expression of dignity. Steve said that it was customary for Jews to give those traveling to Israel an offering to bring to the deserving there. And that we would be protected in our journey because we were traveling with the purpose of giving.

That explained it. And so I carried the coins with me to Israel. On our last day in Jerusalem Steve gave them to someone at the Western Wall.

According to the Talmud, tzedakah is as important as all of the other commandments put together. So we start teaching about it early. Ben takes a dollar with him to Shabbat School every Saturday for the tzedakah box. I asked Essie (what child would not love a teacher with that name) at Shabbat School, where the money goes. So I could explain it to Ben. Essie told me it has been going to Haiti through a program called Meds and Food for Kids ( based in St. Louis.

And I did explain it to Ben. How his dollar helped buy food and medicine for boys and girls his age in a far away place called Haiti. I pointed it out on the map. He of course wanted to know how the money got there. Which inevitably led back to the endless stream of questions about the US Postal delivery system. How you put a stamp on something, leave it in a box and it gets delivered to another box somewhere else. Without getting lost. Hmm. Sometimes amazes me too.

Our 2010 shabbats have also involved a lot of righteous giving. To me. Even though I insist that our guests only bring themselves, they have brought flowers, wine, nuts. Last week Kelly even brought me The Food Bible.

And I like that.

But it's not about me.

This week when our Shabbat #14 guests asked what they could bring I said yourselves. And a few non-perishables for the CRC Nourish Our Neighbors Meal Program offered through a partnership with the Harvey Kornblum Jewish Food Pantry. Ben will deliver the donations to the satelitte drop off site at our temple each Saturday morning before services. And those donations will get delivered to a deserving family in St. Louis.

That's a delivery I understand. And I hope Ben will understand it too.

So now you know what to bring.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Repairing the World

Shabbat #12

Guests: Kelly, Ned, daughter S. (4) and son S. (6). Kelly and I went to high school together in the 80's. And have pictures of our 80's big hair to prove it.

Menu: Blue Cheese Crackers and Bison Sausage, Chicken and Morels, Greens with Citrus Vingarette, Toby's Challah, "Crack Pie"

What I Learned:

This week I kept it regional. As in Missouri. Goatsbeard Farm cheese in the crackers served alongside Bowood Farm bison sausage. Organic chicken complimented with Ozark morels. Greens with alfalfa from Sweetwater Farms. Toby's challah. And pie made with Farrar Out Farm eggs and Heartland Dairy cream. Local Harvest Grocery on Morgan Ford hooked me up. Yes. It was a little out of the way. And a bit more expensive. But I wanted to do it for Kelly.

And for my family.

Kelly is one of the most socially and environmentally conscious people I know. And a huge supporter of the Slow Food movement. Don't worry. I didn't know what that was either. (And, no, it doesn't relate to poor service or cold soup.) Slow Foodies promote fresh, local, and sustainably-produced food. They work to counteract fast food and fast life.

Kelly's support of the movement doesn't surprise me. When we had our babies she bought an immersion mixer. To make her own baby food. And she has a compost pile. I think she even used cloth diapers. And while I admire her, the thought of doing all this plus raising the child that is eating the freshly blended organic farm raised summer squash is fairly frightening to me.

That said, I'd like to be more like Kelly. Minus the cloth diapers. But sometimes I get a little glum about my world. Can I really make a difference? Even if I separate my recyclables, does it really matter if the rest of the block isn't doing the same thing?

Take the cup incident.

I run. Everyday. Down Wydown which is perhaps the most beautiful street in the city and a favorite of the running and walking set. On Monday running past a cement light post I noticed a half empty paper cup of coffee. Who leaves half a cup of coffee on the corner -- especially at 6 a.m.? I thought as I ran by. On Tuesday I passed it again. Wonder how long it will take for the bottom of the cup to drop out -- like it does in the console of my car when I get lazy? And I kept running. On Wednesday I passed it. Still there. Can't believe no one picked that up yet. The light turned red. I stopped. And looked at the cup. Then I picked it up, carried it across the street and deposited in the trash can. I was about to pat myself on my back for being so conscious. Until I thought about what I'd done - or not done. How pathetic that it took me three days to do what I should have done on day one? Even if no one else had done it either.

Later that day I drove to Jefferson City. An advocacy day for addiction and recovery was taking place at the capitol. I sit on a board that supports these issues - especially among young people. Mostly through programs in schools and peer to peer teaching. Every once in a while I like to go to these programs. To watch the kids. See them in action. And confirm that all the kids in high school these days aren't as irresponsible and ill-advised as I was.

I wasn't disappointed. I watched Jillian, a junior from Lafayette -- my alma mater, teach her peers how to speak up at city council meetings. Jillian wants people to stop smoking in public areas. She was impressive. A lot more impressive than I was at that age ... or any age.

The 200 plus high school students went to the capitol to talk to their legislators. I went to the floor of the House. Where Steve used to sit. And watched a group of people who chose to sacrifice time with their families and higher paying jobs approve a bill to ban synthetic pot.

Then I drove home with a guy who spent his entire career in prevention -- including 30 plus years as executive director of the agency that taught Jillian how to speak to the city council.

Jews believe in tikkun olam, "the repair of the world." Tikkun olam assumes that the world is not perfect, but that it is perfectible, in our hands.

Jewish words, based in Jewish tradition. But a universal notion.

I spent Wednesday with students and counselors trying to curb the effects addiction. On Thursday I shopped at a local grocer where I bought chocolate made by a former criminal defense attorney who now shares his net proceeds with farmers in Ecquador. On Friday I had dinner with a high school friend who cares enough about sustainable food to eat it ... and explain it.

People who probably pick up the cup on day one. Even when no one is looking.

People who are repairing the world.

The kind of people I want Ben and Sarah to be.

But I've got to be that person first.

So instead of questioning how I can repair the world if everyone else isn't repairing it too, I'm going to assume they are.

And join in.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Work in Progress

Shabbat #11

Guests: Missy and Matt and their children P. (3) and G. (5). Missy and Matt live around the corner. After dinner we discovered that our kids can use the backyard "cut thru" as a short cut between our houses. Love that.

Menu: St. Patrick's Day Nouveau - Beer Bread, Rosemary & Garlic Grilled Lamb Chops, Steamed Vegetables with Cheddar Stout Fondue, Vanilla Ice Cream with Crème De Mint

What I Learned:

Last Halloween Missy and Matt invited us to their house for a neighborhood party. Although they lived just around the corner and we had children of similar age, we didn't really know each other beyond the polite exchange of hellos.

We arrived with a triple batch of cornbread and Dale Earnhardt and Minnie Mouse in tow. Missy opened the door dressed as a witch with a kid on one hip and a glass of wine in hand. I knew immediately that I was going to like her.

But it got even better.

Missy's house is one of the grandest in the neighborhood. A mustard yellow Mediterranean easily three times the size of our humble Tutor. Lots of curb appeal. Big yard. And a new addition.

She led us back to the addition where the party had gathered. Something was a little ... different. It was unfinished. Well basically. It was framed in with working windows and doors. But plywood floors. Studs for walls. Just a wide open space. Instead of furniture (for the most part) there were Fisher Price climbers. Tricycles. And all of those big, bright toys I’d convinced Ben he didn't really want because I didn't want them in my house.

And there was Missy in her makeshift “kitchen” stirring her yellow squash chili seemingly unfazed by the entire situation. Happily willing to invite the entire neighborhood in for a look. Even though it was still a work in progress.

She was, well, real. And to me this is perhaps the most appealing and authentic thing a person can be.

I was journalism major, but I never became a journalist. I couldn't take criticism well and deadlines scared me. Plus I didn't think I'd be any good at it. So I became a lawyer and learned (later) that criticism and deadlines were the nature of the business. Now I don't practice law and I write for free. Go figure.

I met Steve in law school. On our first date -- ironically Rosh Hashanah -- he told me that he either wanted to be President or a cowboy. Right now both are, shall we say, out to pasture.

Ben and I talk a lot about what he wants to be when he grows up. I tell him he can be anything. He says he wants to be a monster truck driver. I smile and scramble for the "doctor's" bag, paleontologist kit and firefighter costume. (Just so he knows there are options.) But he's steadfast. And if he ends up being a monster truck driver, I'll tell him to be the best one ever. And I'll be his biggest fan.

Which got me to thinking.

Why do Steve and I tell Ben that he can be anything he wants to be, but it’s so hard to take our own advice? Sound familiar? Did we stop dreaming?

In a way, there is something enviable (albeit microscopic, I can barely see it, infinitesimally small) quality about Steve’s situation. He gets to reinvent himself. Start over. And ironically, maybe the worst part of his situation – that the decision to do so was not his – is the best part. He’ll never be that guy (maybe you know him) pining away at a job he doesn’t like instead of following a dream because doing so would be too irresponsible. Too risky.

By dumb luck (or lack thereof) Steve has to to start over. He can be anything he wants to be. Well, almost anything. I don’t think he’ll be a jockey. Or President. But there are still lots of choices. And that’s exciting.

He’s a work in progress.

I hope that Ben does not let his dreams go. I plan to teach him to keep dreaming. And even when he needs to temporarily adapt the dream to accommodate life’s responsibilities, I want him to remember what he wanted to be. And then work towards becoming that person. Because he’s a work in progress too.

After all, there once was a boy who dreamed about flying to the moon. And you know what? He did.

As for me, I love Steve. Even though he’s not going to be President. But I might love him even more if he were a cowboy.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Crib Note: It's In the Ketubah

A ketubah is the Jewish marriage agreement signed by the bride and groom after the wedding. Like any contract, it outlines the rights and responsibilities of the parties. Oh. And, it's usually really pretty.

Ours hangs in the hall. Check it out when you come. When we moved in seven years ago I spent a fortune framing it to coordinate with the decor.

Steve and I have a running joke. Any time one of us wants the other to do something -- like fix a flat in the rain or watch football instead of the Food Network -- we declare But you've got to ... it's in the ketubah. Until recently as far as I knew it could have been. As many times as I walked by it, I don't think I ever actually stopped and read it. Probably not even on our wedding day.

Jewish or not, maybe you have something like this hanging in your house. Some tangible reminder that a deal was struck. Displayed in a fancy frame.

Last year I found myself needing to cram some forgiveness into my heart. Due to the "nature" of the problem, I couldn't talk about it with anyone. I wasn't into self-help books or Dr. Phil-like philosophy. And I was fairly spiritually inept.

But I was an attorney.

So I went back to the agreement. In search of a provision for boneheaded decisions made by one's spouse. Perhaps some mandated hard labor. Oh. And a basis for forgiveness too.

And here's what it said:

I am my beloved's and my beloved is mine. No man without woman; no woman without man and neither without G-d.

I thought about what those words meant. I'll spare you the details. But generally I concluded we were in it together and that part of being married meant that each of us could make mistakes. And be forgiven. So long as we learned from it. That maybe what felt all consuming at the moment would eventually fall away. And what would be left would be the two of us.

Sure. It wasn't an instant fix. But it was a very simple statement about why we had gotten married in the first place. An excellent jumping off point for forgiveness.

And the best part ...

I now know that forced football viewing is not in the ketubah.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


Today I'm going to stop walking by that thing I ought to do and just stop and do it.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Crib Note - Eschet Who?

The thing about Steve -- he's coachable. But I didn't always know this. Mostly because I never tried coaching him. Instead I would do most things myself. And then complain about it. Like a martyr. Sound familiar?

That changed last year. I needed help. He needed penance. So I started asking. Mostly for things that I never liked doing. Like emptying the dishwasher. Cooking (and cleaning up) breakfast on the weekends. Dropping off at preschool. And he was really good at these things. Maybe even empowered that I had finally given up a little control. That he could help.

One day last summer I was flipping through an Anita Diamant book searching for the shabbat blessing of the children -- no doubt in a fit of "mom guilt." And what was beneath the blessing of the children? Blessing of the spouse. Now we're talking. According to the ancient custom, a husband reads or chants to his wife a section from the book of Proverbs called Eschet Chayil. I looked it up. It's long, but it reads in part:

"She invests herself with strength… she opens her hand to the poor and reaches out to the needy…she is robed in strength and dignity and she smiles at the future…give her credit for the fruit of her labor and let her achievements praise her at the gates." (Proverbs 31: 10-31)

Seriously? Am I dreaming? How had I missed this before.

That night before Shabbat I coyly pushed the portion of Proverbs across the table. And I coached him. You don't have to chant the whole thing. Just say "eschet chayil." I'll know what you mean.

So he read it. And he repeated the two words. And then I said "I love you."

That was the first and last time I ever pushed the portion across the table. But every Friday night he says his piece and I say mine. Two words, but we both know what they mean.

And now so do you.

Sunday, March 7, 2010


Dear Governor Nixon:

If you want to mandate ethical behavior, please don't cut programs for our children. Lessons in personal responsibility start at home and in our schools and should not be reserved for the floor of the House and the Senate.

Your friend,


Saturday, March 6, 2010

Good's Inside You

Shabbat #10

Guests: Our next door neighbors Kelly and JP and their sons K. and S. Our sons play together. I send Ben out the side door and can watch him walk into their kitchen. Through 15 years and 4 houses, they are hands down the best neighbors ever.

Menu: Grilled Flank Steak, Rosemary Roasted Red Potatoes, Spring Greens Salad with Pears and Goat Cheese, S-Mores

What I Learned:

Talk about religion makes me nervous. Mostly because I think someone is just about to ask me to believe something. And asking me to believe (or do) anything nearly always has the reverse effect. Sometimes when I'm driving behind a car with a bumper sticker about G-D and babies I speed up just to see what someone who so publicly announces their position looks like. Don't get me wrong. I'm all for everyone choosing to practice their desired religion -- as long as it doesn't hurt anybody else. I'm just not sure I want to read it on your bumper while I'm driving down Highway 40.

Which makes it all the more ironic that I am writing a blog about shabbat dinner.

Sure there are some overtly religious things that go down each Friday night at our house. We say some prayers, light some candles and bless the kids. But we never set out to talk about religion. Yet somehow it always comes up. Just like last night. Sitting around the table Kelly asked whether we had always done a big to do on Friday night. We gave her the short(er) version about how we had traveled to Israel and Morocco and that the experience had been impactful enough for us to make changes at home. In large part for our children. Kelly connected on the kid part. She and JP did not belong to a church. But it was something they wanted for their children.

Watching the clock tick from 1:30 to 2:00 to 3:00 after being jarred out of sleep by Steve's snoring, I got to thinking.

Why did I want religion for my children?

I was raised Methodist. Our family's attendance was spotty and it stopped altogether after sixth grade confirmation. Back then, my religious take-a-way went something like this: if you are good you can ask G-d for things and he will help you. So I did. Dear G-D, please let me do okay on my math test. Dear G-D, please let Darren like me? These pleas were followed by a laundry list of things I promised to do (or not do). Which I probably ended up not doing or doing anyway. (I think they also told us G-D forgives so I figured He would understand.)

At some point, I stopped asking G-D for things. Not because I lost faith -- though I never excelled at math and Darren dumped me -- it just seemed a bit, well, unrealistic.

Last year I started asking again. I didn't think my pleas were to G-D like before. More to myself. I wanted to find strength to forgive so I did not wake up miserable every morning. I didn't want to be that person who honked in traffic and walked around looking like she always smelled something bad. I wanted to be able to see the good in people. Even when they made bad choices that hurt me. And I wanted to live my life believing that positive things can come out of even the most devastating circumstances. And it started to work.

A few months ago I was driving somewhere within my 5-mile bubble when my son piped up from his car seat.

"G-d's inside us."

(Tire screech.)

"What did you just say? Who told you that?"

"I just knew."

I physically turned around to check that those words (which I take absolutely no credit for) came out of my 5 year old son's mouth. And they did.

Was he right? I don't remember letting G-D in there, but maybe that's who I'd been talking to all those months I was searching for a way to save myself from being miserable and bitter. To this day I'm not quite sure what Ben's words really meant. But I do know whoever it is that's inside there can stay.

And that's what I want for my children.

Something inside them that gives them strength.

In a perfect world, I would be there for each of my children in every difficult moment. But I know that's unrealistic. Sometimes they won't want me there. And eventually I won't be there at all. I want them to find that place within themselves that lets them forgive, that helps them see the good in people and makes them believe that even the most trying situations can reap rewards.

Whether they choose to believe that its "G-D" inside them or "good" inside them doesn't make much difference to me.

Friday, March 5, 2010


Defining myself by my regrets would be ... regrettable.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Short Ribs Are Cheaper Than Therapy

Shabbat #9:

Guests: Susan and Rob and their 5 year old son J. J goes to school with our son. And Susan and Rob are the best company at t-ball and soccer games.

Menu: Blue Cheese Crackers (officially a staple now), Short Ribs Braised in Red Wine, Yukon Mash with Horseradish, Roasted Asparagus and Cherry Tomatoes, Hamentaschen, Roasted Marshmallows

What I Learned:

When someone finds out that I'm hosting dinner every week for a year, the reaction goes something like this. (Cue jaw drop and audible gasp.) Really? That's the plan. Every week? Uh huh. And you're cooking. Yup.

That said, even I was a bit intimidated by our #9 dinner guests. Susan plans and executes some of the grandest charity events in St. Louis. And she has white upholstered chairs in a home she shares with a five year old. To make matters worse, her husband is an award-winning BBQ aficionado.

No pressure there.

Yet even Susan admitted that entertaining at home elicits a certain degree of anxiety. Mostly because, well, its your home. The place where you have gingerly placed your most worldly possessions amidst your clutter and undone projects. Your history in a tidy (or not so tidy) box. Opening it up involves exposure.

I used to hate this sort of exposure. Now it is oddly comforting. It's a chance to share with our friends (and reinforce for ourselves) what we are really about. And the hassle factor. Well the whole dinner hosting thing hasn't complicated my life. It's simplified it.

In 2001, I signed up for a triathlon. A long one. It's called the Ironman. (Clearly named by a guy with a Napoleonic complex). I was woefully unprepared when I committed. But I'd watched athletes propelling themselves through the 140 plus mile course on TV. From my couch, it looked pretty life changing. And I needed a life change. An opportunity to do something that I wasn't sure I could actually do in order to prove to myself that I could actually ... do things.

Finally I had a plan. I followed my training schedule like the Bible (preconversion). Each day there was an achievable goal. The next day was built on the previous day's work. There was structure. And control. Minus the physical discomfort, I'd never felt better.

And now I have a new plan. Hosting a year of shabbats. There's structure. And control. This time for me and my entire family. And that goes a long way when the rest of our life lacks any other semblance of predictability.

The weekly training is simple:

Monday: Plan
Tuesday: Write
Wednesday: Shop
Thursday: Prep
Friday: Cook
Saturday: Rest
Sunday: Reflect

I'll break it down. Let's take the short ribs.

Monday I planned. While running. I used to listen to country music while throwing myself a 10-mile pity party. Counterproductive. Now I make guest lists and shopping lists, choose menus, write blog entries and (inaccurately) predict what I expect to write about each dinner.

Tuesday I wrote. After the kids went to bed. I used to spend this time watching repeats of The Real Housewives. Counterproductive. (But I do miss my girls.)

Wednesday I shopped. With Sarah. She drives the rocket cart while I frantically throw things in before the two year old window slams shut. Having never purchased (or cooked) short ribs the delay in the meat department required me to buy her off with Hello Kitty band aids by aisle 12 (again). But I'm still ahead of the game. I used to spend this time wandering aimlessly through Target buying things I don't need.

Thursday I prepped. Set the table. Browned the short ribs while the kids made pizzas. Convinced Steve to clean the pan. And the floor littered with pizza cheese.

Friday I braised and mashed. While Sarah napped. A note on braising for my non-cooking friends. Braising is code for put meat in pan, add liquid, stick in oven for afternoon. Braising is your friend. Steve bought the challah and the firewood and the marshmallows I forgot to buy on Wednesday when the two year old window slammed shut.

Saturday I rested. While running and chasing kids.

Sunday I reflected. While running mostly. And chasing kids.

Then I did it all over again. And it was just as predictable. And that was good.

I really had no business signing up for Ironman. I'd never ridden my bike further than 30 miles and I was like a cat in water. But that didn't matter. I figured it out. I followed the plan. And I was changed by the experience in ways I never expected.

Same goes for hosting a year's worth of weekly dinners. I'm no Julia Child. I'm not even Chef Boyardee. But I can read a recipe. And I'll figure it out. Because I will be changed by the experience. I already have been.

My family will be changed too. How? Well I'm not sure yet. But I have a wish list. I hope Ben and Sarah grow up wanting to spend Friday dinner with family and friends. I hope they make new friends that they will have for years to come. I hope Steve realizes that he is not defined by his regrets and that our friends are our friends regardless. And I hope our friends know that there would not be "A Year (Or More) Of Shabbats" if it were not for them.

As for the short ribs. They were like butter. And at $6.99 a pound they were a heck of a lot cheaper than therapy.

Crib Note - What the Heck is Shabbat Dinner Anyway? (For Our Non Jewish Friends)

Shabbat is considered a festive day, when a person is freed from the regular labors of everyday life (seriously -- who couldn't use that regardless of religion), can contemplate the spiritual aspects of life (with a glass of wine in hand), and can spend time with family (and friends). Because the Friday dinner is the focal point of the week that begins the observance of Shabbat, expect to find the dining room table set with the good china (what was I saving it for anyway), the (wrinkled) table cloth, flowers and lots of candles (a set for each child - and what kid does not love fire). We do a few prayers in Hebrew (seriously - non-threatening). Steve blesses the wine, challah (Jewish egg bread - yummy) and the children and says eschet chayil ... code for I love my wife because she puts up with me. I say I love you back. We go round the table letting each person share what they were most thankful for that week. Then we eat.


Told you it wasn't that scary.