Wednesday, October 22, 2014 Tishri 28, 5775

Kids at this writer's synagogue not only take food from the kiddush table during services, but also stick their hands in everything so that no one else wants to eat the food later. Can members do or say anything to their parents to stop this? 

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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Dear Miriam,

There are so many potlucks in Philadelphia, and I'm worried about gaining weight as a result. What are some strategies for eating at potluck meals without outgrowing all my Shabbat clothes?

Signed,
Potluck Pounds

Dear Pounds,

The best strategy for eating at a potluck is the same as at any other meal: Eat until you're satisfied, but not stuffed. Moderation is more difficult when you're faced with six different kinds of pasta and three different trays of brownies. Just remember, even though all these foods are in front of you, you don'...

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Dear Miriam,

I need an all-purpose Jewish quote for a speech I'm making next week. What are some of your favorites?

Signed,
Most Quotable Quotes

Dear Quotable,

Here are some favorites, in no particular order, with thanks to my family for contributing to the list:

"We are not obligated to complete the task, neither are we free to desist from it." (Pirke Avot, 2:16)
"If I am not for myself, who will be for me?  And if I am only for myself, what am I?  And if not now, when?" (Pirke Avot, 1:14)
"It is a great mitzvah to be...

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