Wednesday, January 28, 2015 Shevat 8, 5775

A reader who's relatively new to "making much of Shabbat" asks how to get over her nerves and start inviting guests to join in her family's Friday night ritual.

A parent asks for tips on how to get into the spirit of Shabbat when she's completely spent from the work week and rarely has time to even make anything special for dinner.

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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? 

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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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