Friday, September 19, 2014 Elul 24, 5774

Dear Miriam,

I've just been invited to an outdoor engagement party where guests are instructed to dress "summer chic." I have no idea what this means for me or for my boyfriend, plus it's going to be really hot out. Help!

Signed,
Sweaty Chic

Dear Sweaty,

Though I like being outdoors, I really dislike outdoor parties that are anything other than an impromptu get together with friends (or the occasional Shabbat picnic lunch). As I said when planning my own wedding, "I have enough to worry about without also worrying about the weather every day...

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Dear Miriam,

My best friend is expecting a baby this fall and I want to do something to celebrate, but I've been told Jews don't have baby showers. Why not? Any ideas what we can do instead?

Signed,
To Shower or Not to Shower?

Dear Shower,

This is a great example of superstition turned into tradition turned into, I don't know, implicit cultural pressure without a lot of understanding (is there one word that means all that?). Traditionally, Jews have held the belief that to celebrate something before it happens is to invite the Evil Eye to...

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Dear Miriam,

I go to a lot of Jewish events around Philly and there are always a handful of socially awkward people there. I don't want to spend my night talking to them, but I feel bad ignoring them. What should I do?

Signed,
Avoiding the Awkward

Dear Awkward,

It's commendable that you feel bad ignoring the awkward among us. Throughout the multitude of Jewish events I've attended in Philly and elsewhere, you're not alone. I am always impressed that more often than not, the less socially adept attendees usually seem to have someone to talk...

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