by Rachel Lefkowitz
I did not grow up practicing Judaism, so when I first went to Friday night services, I thought, “This is a great way to end the week! And they give you cookies after? How amazing!”
Then I learned that “they” do not “give” you cookies. You provide the cookies and share them. This presented a problem—how would I find time in my busy week for cookies? But it turns out that finding time to bake or buy cookies is like finding time for Shabbat services: If you want to do it, you figure out how. The important thing is that the act of sharing creates community.
At Bet Ha’am we are great about bringing treats for Friday family services and Saturday potluck luncheons. What we are not great at is bringing our food ready to serve. I’d like us to think about changing that. Right now, we use staff time to put cookies on plates and then clean plates; that staff time could be better used supporting services. Further, our own dishes create a friendly environment (all those colors and shapes and patterns!) and good discussion topics: even if you aren’t eating cookies, you can always compliment on the color, shape, or pattern of the plate.
I know that it is hard to remember to bring a plate and even harder to remember to take it home. But let’s try—we might find a new way to create community.