Thursday, August 28, 2014 Elul 2, 5774

Dear Miriam,

I work in a casual office, but I usually dress up on Fridays so that I can go to shul directly after work. When co-workers ask if I'm dressed up for a party or a date, I tell them that it's for synagogue — but I feel awkward mentioning my religious observance. Is that weird?

Signed,
Dressed Up Fridays

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Dear Miriam,

Am I supposed to bring a gift to an engagement party? If so, what? The couple has already registered, but if I get them something from the registry, what do I do for the wedding itself? And doesn't this seem like a lot of gifts for essentially the same occasion?

Signed,
Engagement Gift

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Dear Miriam,

I host a lot of Shabbat dinners for friends, and for a few recent meals, I've had guests cancel on me at the last minute. I've already made all the food, sometimes even set the table, and then I get an email that for some reason or other they can't make it. A last minute email is better than having people just not show up, which I've also had happen, but I can't imagine ever doing something this rude to a friend who's invited me for dinner. How should I respond when this happens, and is there any way to communicate to people before a meal that when they accept, I really expect them to show up?

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