Thursday, August 28, 2014 Elul 2, 5774

Dear Miriam,

I am hosting seder for my family this year as a I do every year, and I've had the menu planned for weeks. Yesterday, my son called from college to say he wants to bring his new girlfriend with him, and she's a vegan. I have no idea what to serve her. Help!

Signed,
Starving the seder guests

Dear Starving,

Near the beginning of the seder, we say, "All who are hungry, let them come and eat." This includes vegans, last minute guests and new girlfriends. At least that's only one additional person in your case. (There are, of course,...

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Dear Miriam,

This is my first Passover living on my own, and I have no idea how to get ready for the holiday. I know I should clean everything, but do I actually need a blowtorch? Do I have to cover my counters and throw away all my food?

Signed,
Passover Panic

Dear Panic,

This is one of those times where it's great to be an advice columnist and not a rabbinic authority because I'm going to answer based on what feels right rather than on what is right according to halacha (Jewish law). If you want more definitive answers, I encourage you to...

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oment to see where I'll be invited?

Signed,
Too many potlucks,

Dear Potlucks,

As I've talked about before, a lot of organizations in Philly host Shabbat dinners, and sometimes they conflict with each other, but organizations typically have their schedules publicized well in advance, so you can know what's coming up and decide where you want to eat. When an organization is hosting a potluck, I think it's ok to  RSVP as late as Friday afternoon, and, if necessary, to cancel as late as Friday afternoon. There are some important exceptions, though: If the...

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