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I am invited to my Jewish friend's Shabbat dinner. What will the meal be like?


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Rabbi Eliezer G: Welcome to the Rabbi's one on one chat room, how can I help you today?

William: hello. I am not Jewish. I do work with a Jewish guy at the office. I have long been interested in Jewish culture. I have known him for 3 years. He has invited me to come for a Shabbat Dinner at his house tonight. He told me I would enjoy it, but when I offered to bring something, he told me please do not

William: I am really nervous

Rabbi Eliezer G: I understand

Rabbi Eliezer G: its new. its normal to be nervous at something new

William: about what to expect and why I can't bring anything!

William: yes!

William: I just dont want to offend them. And when he said not to bring anything, does that mean just food?

Rabbi Eliezer G: your friend probably keeps Kosher and does not want anything in his house that does not conform with the laws of kosher

William: I dont want to seem rude tonight or anything. Maybe you know what may happen or what I shouldn't say or do?

Rabbi Eliezer G: they will greet you

Rabbi Eliezer G: invite you to the table

Rabbi Eliezer G: they will sing several Hebrew melodies

Rabbi Eliezer G: they might explain it in english for your sake

Rabbi Eliezer G: they will chant a blessing over a cup of wine

Rabbi Eliezer G: they will go to the sink and wash their hands in a ritual fashion

Rabbi Eliezer G: fill a cup and pour three times over the right hand and three times over the left hand

Rabbi Eliezer G: they will return to the table

Rabbi Eliezer G: and recite a blessing over two whole loaves of bread, called 'Challah'

Rabbi Eliezer G: they will not interrupt with any kind of talk between washing and the blessing over the bread

Rabbi Eliezer G: they will dip the bread in salt and eat a piece

Rabbi Eliezer G: then the meal will be served, and regular chat and conversation can commence

Rabbi Eliezer G: of course there may be variations to this and it all depends on how carefuly your friends observes the traditions

Rabbi Eliezer G: there may be Hebrew melodies interspersed throughout the meal, and about a few minute blessing chanted in the end

Rabbi Eliezer G: the appropraite greeting is either Good Shabbos in English or Shabbat Shalom in Hebrew

William: wow

William: okay, so this will be very long!

Rabbi Eliezer G: maybe two hours

William: I think they are observant. I know he doesn't eat food at the mall because his religion wants him to eat certain foods.

Rabbi Eliezer G: I hope you enjoyed our conversation as much as I have and I hope that it was informative for you.

Rabbi Eliezer G: Thank you for visiting Ask Moses today and I invite you to come back at any time

William: okay Rabbi. Have a nice day. thanks for your help.

All names, places, and identifying information have been changed or deleted in order to protect the privacy of the questioners. In order to preserve authenticity, the chat sessions have been posted with a minimum of editing. Please excuse typographical errors, missing punctuation, and/or grammatical mistakes which naturally occur in the course of informal chat sessions.


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(pl: Shabbatot). Hebrew word meaning "rest." It is a Biblical commandment to sanctify and rest on Saturday, the seventh day of the week. This commemorates the fact that after creating the world in six days, G-d rested on the seventh.
Literally means "fit." Commonly used to describe foods which are permitted by Jewish dietary laws, but is also used to describe religious articles (such as a Torah scroll or Sukkah) which meet the requirements of Jewish law.
[Hebrew pronunciation: Moshe] Greatest prophet to ever live. Led the Jews out of Egyptian bondage amidst awesome miracles; brought down the Tablets from Mount Sinai; and transmitted to us word-for-word the Torah he heard from G-d's mouth. Died in the year 1272 BCE.
A loaf of bread. Usually refers to: 1) The section of dough separated and given to the priest (today that section is burnt). 2) The sweetened, soft bread customarily consumed at the Sabbath meals.