For the Super Popular: How to choose which Shabbat dinner.

This guy probably gets invited to 500 meals every Shabbat. Ah yee-uh...

Rachel Bernstein is a GTJ staff member.


Wouldn’t it be nice if Shabbat were every day?

Okay, maybe that’s not a unanimous mentality. I’m attached to my smartphone too.

But sometimes when you get double or triple-invited to Shabbat plans from friends or co-workers or people you just met, you don’t want to turn them down and wish you could just spread out the days or events so you could attend them all. Especially when we’re all here to make new friends and want to make sure we get invited out again. Turning down an invitation might make someone think you’re not interested in hanging out, right?

Hopefully not. If they’re good people, they’ll invite you again.

And if you’ve actually run into this conundrum of being so popular that you get invited to all sorts of things that overlap on weekends or even during the week, congrats. You’re so popular you probably don’t need to read this blog anymore. (Kidding—you still need to read this because I could really use the page hits. They make me feel validated when Gather the Jews’ esteemed editors/directors send out website statistics every week. I always lose out to posts about chocolate, dating, or the Jewish Guy of the Week, in no particular order.)

So here’s how you pick what wonderful things to do on a Friday night when your social life has become so illustrious.

  1. Family-first. If your family has invited you to something, they kind of win. Unless this is a regular event with the family and you don’t think it’ll kill them to miss your lovely presence for a week, blood is thicker than water. Or brand-new D.C. acquaintances. Something like that.
  2. If they’re leaving town for good soon or for whatever reason could otherwise use a warm, friendly face at their event. Be a good friend and appear and show support. Especially if you don’t know when you’ll see this particular person again, your host is going out of their way to be inviting for no other benefit than for everyone to have a good time.
  3. Go beyond the comfort zone. If you have the choice between something you usually attend on Friday night versus a brand new service or dinner or event, pick the new one. After a while, we get settled into our routines here in D.C., find our groove, and want to have some kind of normalcy. But if you can take it, shake it up every once in a while. Walk the extra few blocks (yes, I know it’s cold these days) to see something you haven’t before. You never know where that new experience can take you, and it might just set an unexpected tone for the weekend.

And if you were reading this entry wondering if and when I was going to plug in some events you can go to this week, you’re still in luck!

  • Adas Israel will have a Shabbat dinner for multiple generations starting at 6 p.m. Tickets cost $23.50 for adults and $16 for children if you haven’t gotten them already. Contact Carol Ansell at 202-362-4433 for details. Adas also has a Kabbalat Shabbat service for young professionals that starts at 6:30 p.m. with a happy hour and ends with dinner. RSVP here.
  • Sixth and I Historic Synagogue livens up Friday night with its annual wine tasting contest. Services start at 6:30 p.m., and dinner will be held at 8 p.m. Email the good folks at Mesorah DC for details.
  • Tikkun Leil Shabbat will be had at the Church of the Pilgrims building at 2201 P. St. NW, starting at 6:45 p.m. Services are followed by a potluck dinner, so bring something for all to share.


2 replies
  1. Stephen Richer
    Stephen Richer says:

    Good stuff. Although I think most people use a very different metric system:

    1) Where will my friends be?
    2) Which rabbi do I like the most?
    3) Where will hot girls be?
    4) Where will the most people be?
    5) Where are services shortest?
    6) Where is the food the best?


Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *