Fridays with French Fries

The point, as I hope you’ve gotten by now, is that Fridays are a marathon, and they don’t necessarily slow down once we’ve lit the candles. The mechanics of keeping food moving around the table, of grabbing an extra fork or spoon as someone needs one—they keep me moving until finally, finally, we all sit down. Brachot are recited, as the non-Jewish kids looked thrilled at this new cultural experience and the Jewish kids mumble sheepishly along. Hands are washed. And the looks on the faces of our younger guests—those that begin when they come in, marveling at the smell, and last usually all the way through however many zmirot, or Shabbat songs, we can strong-arm them through at the end of the meal—it’s honestly a bit of a thrill. They look like they get it. They’re happy to be there—and not just because I really do make a very good cholent, if I may say so myself.

As the unofficial members of the Lesbian Chabad of Mid-Maine (no copyright infringement intended!), R. and I have taken up the duty of demonstrating what a Jewish home looks like—to locals, to students, to anyone who wants to come see. And I think that’s what lights these students up from the inside—it’s that idea of home. A Jewish home, which some are remembering and probably missing, some are experiencing for the first time, and some—just a few, but this is a business of quality rather than quantity—are clearly seeing projected in the future: the home they suddenly know they want to make. It lights them up, but it warms me deep inside. So much so that I’ll even share my recipes with them when the time comes.