Hosting is common in Israel, whether it be young couples, seminary girls, or bochurim, most newcomers are thrown into hosting as soon as they arrive. How is a girl supposed to know the ins and outs of hosting? Here are some ideas to keep in mind next time you find yourself the entertainer.
The classic stereotypical bochur will call Thursday night asking to eat over with six friends. Even though this is the typical bochur story, last-minute guests can happen to anyone. If it’s easy for you to do it, great. But remember that it’s OK to say no. Setting boundaries for yourself will make the whole process more enjoyable. In that same vein, some women enjoy entertaining and some do not. If you are part of the latter group, don’t feel pressured to be constantly hosting. Constantly doing something that is hard/stressful/overwhelming for you will just make you resentful.
Everyone and their mother can whip up Shabbos in an hour if really needed but most weeks, that’s really not necessary. Be prepared, invite early, make a menu, and start cooking with time to spare. Organization makes the difference between a stressful Erev Shabbos and a peaceful one.
Cook according to your guests’ preferences
If your guest has allergies, don’t be afraid to ask which foods he can or cannot eat. Be careful of the ingredients that you use. You don’t want to be responsible for a Friday night hospital run. In addition, try to cook to the preferences of your guests. If you remember that your brother in law hates tomatoes, try to avoid them when possible. The little details that you remember and notice will make the world of a difference to your guests.
This is not always the case, but usually, Bochurim will want heavier, heimish foods whereas married couples and seminary girls will appreciate a different, healthier, or interesting twist. Don’t waste your fancy pistachio infused salmon on people who will not appreciate it! The basics for bochurim usually include eggs, liver, cholent, gefilte fish, chicken soup, chicken, or meat. The rest are fillers.
If you are plating an appetizer or other course, ask people what they like. Some people will not touch the entire plate of food if there’s fish on it. Do the courtesy and ask before plating so you can avoid an uncomfortable situation.
No one likes a long, dragging meal. Keep your meal going at a good pace using cues from your guests. When everyone is finished eating and there’s an awkward silence, use that time to clear and serve. Guests can linger after bentching if they really want to, but people are usually tired and want to go home. Be mindful if a guest comes with kids- keep the meal shorter if the kids are misbehaving and tired. The average mealtime should be between 2-3 hours.
Seating is the most important part of a meal. You can make the best foods with the best conversation but if the seating is bad, the meal will be unsuccessful. Try to make people as comfortable as possible: seat husbands and wives together, friends together, avoid putting a man across from a woman and don’t ever have a bochur sit next to a woman, even if it’s the hostess. If you are having more than one couple together, consider sitting at the opposite end of your husband so that the men and women are not sitting interspersed.
Be polite, mindful, and kind- do your best to notice what’s going on at your table. If someone is missing silverware, doesn’t have a cup, or is getting visually uncomfortable from a particular conversation, do the best you can to rectify the situation.
Hosting is not always fun but try your best to enjoy the fruits of your efforts! You’ve planned, shopped, cooked, cleaned, served, cleared, and cleaned up. Enjoy the parts that are fun, don’t work too hard, ask for help, and rest up until next week!
What is The Marriage Initiative?
The Marriage Initiative is a program that aims to encourage better marriages through better education on the many facets of the subject.
How did the program begin?
Throughout my 25 years of teaching and following up with chassanim, I have seen many couples struggling with difficult situations. It is apparent to me that most of the problems men face are rooted in a lack of education about marriage and relationships. Earlier intervention and better education could have saved these men and their spouses from much pain and suffering. To help address this issue, The Marriage Initiative was formed about four years ago, working towards the goal of better marriages through better education.
What would you consider your specialty?
My specialty may simply be helping men understand relationships. So many men walk into a marriage under the assumption that “I’ve figured out lots of things – I can figure out this marriage thing, as well.” Some do, but many struggle. They are simply unfamiliar with a woman’s world, unfamiliar with the dynamics of the couple relationship, and try to apply the rules and concepts from their singlehood experience to an environment that responds to different approaches; and in which different, unfamiliar concepts apply. This can be very bewildering and frustrating.
I try to bridge that gap, to introduce men to the world of a woman and a relationship, allowing them to understand it and better apply their natural strengths and wisdom.
What should a person look for in a life partner?
A very important trait in a successful relationship is the ability to take responsibility for one’s own actions and issues. Someone who is constantly blaming others is unlikely to be willing to make the effort to work on the inevitable issues that arise in every marriage. Issues are not disasters, nothing is insurmountable as long as you have a partner who is willing to invest the effort to rise above it.
Additionally, someone who accepts responsibility is someone who will take care of their spouse.
What expectations should one have when going into a marriage?
Expect the unexpected! Marriage will be different than your preconceived notions. It will not necessarily be better or worse, but it will be different. The pictures we paint of what married life will be like are based on our general concept of marriage and what we know about our future spouse. Both of these assumptions are based on a lack of information! Most single people base their concept of marriage on media depictions and what they observe about their friends’ marriages. Media depictions of marriages are a definite fairy tale (or nightmare), and the reality of other peoples’ relationships takes place behind closed doors- one does not know anything about the true experience.
Our understanding of our spouse before marriage is largely based on the dating experience. When people are dating, they are focusing strongly on putting their best foot forward, we are generally seeing the best this person has to offer. That is not a sustainable situation- a spouse cannot be in “dating mode” throughout an entire marriage! Married life will be different than dating life. Keeping these two thoughts in mind will allow young married people to stay grounded and avoid unrealistic expectations and disappointment, a key component in the early days of a growing relationship.
What should a chosson and kallah do before the wedding, to best prepare for marriage?
It is vital to have a mentor. Beginnings can be challenging, and it is so important to have someone wise, trustworthy, and confidential with whom you can share concerns and fears. No one could take an office job in an unfamiliar field with no training or assistance, and be expected to figure everything out on his own. It should be plain that everyone needs someone to help “show the ropes” in the beginning. Yet, so many people walk into the most important time of their life, expecting to figure it out on their own. Some do, but many struggle. As a couple (or part of it) struggles in silence, challenges become entrenched, deeper, more painful, and more difficult from which to recover. When both members of the marriage have someone to talk to from the beginning, someone who can guide them through the early challenges, the initial bumps in the road can be navigated without too much damage or hurt.
Many newly married couples found themselves suddenly caged at home when coronavirus struck. How has that affected shalom bayis, and what would you advise couples struggling with quarantine?
I have found an interesting phenomena. Couples who had healthy shalom bayis before the lockdown reported that they really enjoyed Corona time at home with their spouse. Couples who had rocky or strained relationships found that coronavirus quarantine exasperated a painful situation. I think that the corona era presents a powerful diagnostic tool for a marriage. It helps bring problems into focus, showing couples the underlying strength or weaknesses in their relationships, and revealing what needs work. Coronavirus is an opportunity for a marriage, smart couples will grow from the experience. The collapse of schedules also provides time and opportunity for those in need to seek help.
What would you say is the secret to a good marriage?
We need to remember that a person needs to “check-in” before they “check out.” Take a good, hard look at yourself, and ask yourself what you can do better. Don’t focus on changing or finding fault in your spouse- look for the changes you can make in yourself. Trying to change others is a frustrating, insulting, and painful experience. Oneself is the place to start. And when one makes improvements in himself, the cycle of mutual understanding is launched. It is the best way to see changes happen in others.
Criticism makes people defensive, not different. Blaming one’s spouse is likely to start a bitter argument while vowing to do better is likely to bring reconciliation.
How can couples work on long-term strength in a marriage? Sometimes, people are happy initially, but later complain that their “spouse has changed,” or is “no longer the same person they married.” What would you say is the key to keeping a marriage strong?
Chazal tell us, “All beginnings are difficult.” Rav Chaim Pinchas Scheinberg, zt”l, was asked: Beginnings are usually when things are easiest! The first daf of a masechta is usually the one best learned – what did Chazal mean? Rav Scheinberg answered that the true beginning is when difficulty sets in. Until the trouble starts, one has not yet begun!
Couples that appear to be very happy in the early days of marriage may be confusing happiness with infatuation. Infatuation can be fun while it lasts; but it is invariably short-lived, and when it fades, the challenges set in.
These challenges are not a sign of existential trouble or problems, it is a sign of the maturity of the relationship, the passing from the stage of infatuation to real connection. Infatuation is not a basis for a real relationship, and it must transition to a truer, deeper connection. A real connection needs two real people, who are able to slowly reveal their whole self and be loved and accepted for whom they are.
How can readers access your classes?
During non-pandemic times, I traveled to the US to present classes about once in two months. These included one-on-one classes as well as group series’, with a new series beginning each trip and existing ones receiving continued installments. I also held continued classes via Zoom or other similar platforms. I have spoken for Chazaq and other organizations and events, some of these presentations can be found on themarriageinitiative.org.
The website also includes letters of recommendation from Rav Noach Orlowek and Dr. David Pelcovitz; as well as other information.
Do you have a final message for our readers?
Shalom bayis is worth the investment and effort! The Steipler said that 50% of chinuch is shalom bayis (the rest is tefilla). Even one who does not yet have children, or has an empty nest, stands to gain greatly from improved shalom with his spouse. If your shalom bayis is good, make it better! If it isn’t, invest whatever you can fix it- it’s possible, and it’s worth it.
Rabbi Weisberg is the Director of The Marriage Initiative, which aims to facilitate greater Shalom Bayis through in depth hadracha. Rabbi Weisberg teaches hadracha to Chassanim as well as newly married men who never got proper hadracha. Rabbi Weisberg lives in Israel, but also gives classes over Zoom and tries to visit the US frequently. One can find out more by going to themarriageinitiative.org or by emailing Rabbi Weisberg at: email@example.com
Want to make some extra cash on the side while living in Israel? Here is a crash course on how to make a nice amount of money with credit card points and signup bonuses.
Let’s divide it into a few steps, each of which we will discuss thoroughly in this article:
Step 1: Sign up for a credit card with the best offer that can work for you
Step 2: Use buying groups to reach spending requirements for signup bonuses
Step 3: Maximize your points accumulation using Amazon and Fluz
With these 3 simple steps, you can make as much as $1700 worth of points in the first 3 months! WOW- right? Let’s delve into it a bit more.
Step 1: Credit Cards
We’ll start with 3 cards that currently offer great deals
a) Amazon credit card – I find the most basic way to capitalize when using buying groups (step 2) is by spending on an amazon credit card. These cards offer 5% cash back on all purchases on Amazon with a Prime subscription. So if you spend say $10,000 for the buying group (more about this in step 2), you make $500. Not bad. Here is a link to an Amazon business card
Anyone can open a business card. Open as a sole proprieter, make the name of the business your name and write your social as the tax id number.
b) Chase business card – If you’re up for a slightly bigger challenge (and reward!) you can try this Chase business card. The sign up bonus for this one is 75,000 Chase points for spending $7,500 in the first three months. This card also earns 5 points per dollar on office supplies – see step 3 to learn how you can maximize your buying group purchases with this!
Use this link to see details about the card and to sign up
c) Capital One Venture
: Another lucrative sign up bonus that can be reached through spending for the groups is the venture card from capital one,. the current offer is 60,000 points for spending $3000 in the first three months. plus earn 2 points for every dollar you spend. Use this link to see details and sign up https://capital.one/3ooruz7
Step 2: Buying Groups
Reach your spending requirements, plus gain lots of extra points!
Buying groups are companies who want to buy electronics at discounted prices to redistribute, but cannot buy enough because of website limits per person. They employ you to purchase for them. You ship it directly to their warehouse and they send you a check online. You gain by being able to reach spending requirements and getting points for all your purchases. Occasionally they offer commissions as well. You have to sign up and then they send you the deals they want to buy via email or WhatsApp.
Here are two recommended group links
While I have had only good experiences with the above groups, keep in mind that there have been ppl who have laid out lots of money for these kind of things and weren’t paid back, so only lay out what you can afford to lose, in the rare case something happens.
Step 3: Maximize
a) Amazon: Most of the deals posted are from Amazon. It is also the easiest website to use in terms of managing your orders, customer service etc. On some other websites, they may flag the buying group warehouse shipping location and cancel orders, but on Amazon all orders go through.
It is worth it to have a separate amazon Prime account to use for this purpose. You can get a free prime account by adding your account to any Prime account as part of the household. On the prime account go to Your Account- Manage your Household, then add the new account info to invite to the household. One you’re added you will have Prime on that second account for free.
b) Fluz app
For credit cards like the Chase business card mentioned above, which earns 5% for office supplies on up to $25,000, this app can come in handy. With the Fluz app you can purchase Amazon business gift cards and Chase categorizes it as office supplies. You can then use the gift card at checkout on Amazon. Which means you earn 5 chase points per dollar on Amazon! sign up for Fluz here
So a quick calculation –> if you sign up for Chase business card and spend the $7500 in three months exclusively on Amazon gift cards through the Fluz app you would earn: 75,000 signup bonus points PLUS 37,500 points for the spending, a total of 112,500 Chase points. Which can potentially be worth almost $1700!!
Using credit cards and buying groups this way is a great, fairly easy way to make some extra bucks and/or save up points for your next big vacation!
The Gemara in Shabbos 22a says that one should light his Menorah at the entrance of his home on the left side and have his Mezuzah on the right side. The reason given is to be surrounded by mitzvot.
Perhaps another possible explanation as to the significance of having this arrangement to be surrounded by the Menorah and the Mezuzah is as follows.
Regarding the position of the Mezuzah, there is a debate as to whether it should be affixed on the doorpost horizontally or vertically. Rashi holds that the Mezuzah should be placed vertically while Rabbeinu Tam believes that the Mezuzah should be placed horizontally. The Tur concludes that to fulfill both opinions, we compromise and put the Menorah slanted. This idea is supposed to be a message to the household that one should become accustomed to compromise on matters that pertain to the home. If a disagreement erupts between husband and wife, the Mezuzah should remind them of the importance of compromising and coming to a solution that bests suits both parties involved.
The Menorah represents the exact opposite. During the time of Chanukah, the Yivanim tried to get the Jews, to compromise on their Yiddishkeit. They didn’t try to uproot Torah and Mitzvos completely rather they tried to get the Jews to bend and compromise. The victory of Chanukah is not only the victory of the physical battle but also of the spiritual battle that we didn’t compromise no matter what. In essence, the Menorah is a symbol of our unwavering commitment to Torah and Mitzvos.
We surround ourselves with these two mitzvot to guide us. A person must know when he should compromise and give in and when he should remain firm and steadfast in his beliefs!
Have A lichtigeh Chanuka!
For Sale: Dress Jacket. US size 18, Israeli size 48 (used once). The original price was1000nis will sell for a good offer.