by Sarah Ghosh
Does your family enjoy welcoming guests to your home? Teaching children the art of being a good host is not only a useful skill, but also a Jewish custom (and mitzvah), that started with Abraham & Sarah.
How well do you know your guests? Can you anticipate their needs, and make your home feel like a second home? How do you involve your children in the process of inviting guests into your home? Can the children help set the table? For our little ones, maybe laying out the napkins before a meal, or our older children can make place cards for each guest, or even help cook the meal! Being welcoming to guests can even be as simple as sharing snacks with their friends, or offering up a Band-Aid when they are injured… simple little things that our children learn from us, when we are attentive to our guest’s needs as well as comfort.
During Passover it is a custom to invite people to Seder, so everyone has a place to go. If your family is like ours – we have many family members and friends who join us for Seder who are new to the experience, or don’t read or speak Hebrew. Allowing all of your guests to feel included and safe in the learning experience that is the Seder is both enjoyable for the hosts, as well as the guests. One of the ways we make guests feel welcome is by having multiple types of Haggadahs available at the table, and asking for volunteers for readings, instead of assigning parts. For your more introverted guests, this maybe a welcome reprieve from having to actively participate. Our daughter has enjoyed making personalized place cards for our family & guests the last few years, and also planning who will sit next to her. She really enjoyed the jkidphilly post cards with apples and honey for Rosh Hashanah!
Our family enjoys sitting down to Friday night Shabbat dinner. We say our blessings over the candles, wine, and challah. We also share a mitzvah we did that week. It’s a very relaxed affair. Our most enjoyable Shabbat dinners are when we invite friends and family to join us. It’s a time to put out a lavish spread from ‘soup to nuts’ including chicken soup with matza balls, cholent, kugel, Israeli chopped salad and apple cake. By opening up our home and customs to our guests, we are continuing to teach the next generation how to be gracious, how to care for our neighbors and community, and finally the importance of caring for the needs of others above your own.
Born & raised in Northeast Philadelphia, Sarah Rosmarin Ghosh attended Solomon Schechter and Akiba Hebrew Academy. Sarah met her husband Peter at a Hillel retreat and they currently live in Maple Glen with their 8 year old daughter who attends Perelman Jewish Day School. She holds a Masters Degree in Education, and her Bachelors Degree is in Natural Resource Management.