Sabbath Dinner
The Israeli family is not an ordinary American family no matter how Americanized
the kids feel. In most American families, with a teenager involved a Friday
night is a detached night from the family. You ask just about any teenager what
they do on a Friday night and they will say, "Party" or "Hang out with
friends". On the other hand the family-dinner that my parents and I went to
was at our friendís house and like most Israeli families they to spend Friday
nights as a family; no one leaves the house until dinner is over. (Unless they
go to a synagogue together and then come home to have dinner, or go to a
friendís house together) Dinner is a whole separate ritual, there are certain
things that have to be on the table, certain things they say and sing, before
the meal, and the way that it is considered a special family gathering day. This
really amazes me, because my family has never done anything like that before.

The Shabbat dinner started at 5:30 PM, when we got there, they greeted us, and
we chitchatted for a while, and then sat down at the table. The table had a
beautiful white tablecloth on it, and antique plates at each seating spot, and
really shiny silverware. Each person had one glass filled a little with grape
wine, Sosnick Company. The really young children had grape juice, but my brother
(the 13-yr. old) had the wine. Thatís because he, in the Jewish religion is
already a man. Under each plate there was a napkin on the right side, and a book

"The Shabbat Seder", with a colorful picture of a metal wineglass, 2 hallot
(Braided Bread), covered, and 2 candles lit. On the table that we were sitting
at each person had a metal wineglass, and there were 2 hallot covered closer to
the head of the table on the side that the male sat at. There were 2 candles
closer to the other head of the table, where the woman sat. Each male had a Kipa
on his head. (It was a hat big enough to cover a bald spot) I asked what that
was for and the head of the family replied. "That is so we are not being
impolite to the lord" I wasnít really sure how covering oneís head had
anything to do with politeness but I didnít ask any more. The service started
with the woman lighting the candles, and saying a prayer over them; thank you
for giving us light. Then the man said a family blessing, and then he stood up
and said the Mournerís Kiddush. I didnít want to ask if he was mourning or
not, so I just sat quietly. After which he said the prayer over the wine, and
everyone took a sip. He then continued with a prayer/song Míkadesh ha-Shabbat,
basically thanking the lord for giving us everything we have now and that we are
able to celebrate this day like this (with food on the table, a roof over our
heads, etc.). Then we all got up and went to wash our hands. There was a cup
standing by the sink, and each person did 3 pours per hand while mumbling
something, and went back to the table. When we got to the table everyone was
silent, and still until, everyone sat down, the father stood up and made a
blessing over the bread. Then you heard the movement in the seats, as each
person reached for the bread, breaking off a little piece from the braided roll
of bread. Then we started singing songs, (Because everyone was singing them,).

We sang 2 songs, which sounded really fun, and up beat "Hinei Mah Tov" and

"Shabbat Shalom". After which everyone kissed each other as they said

"Shabbat Shalom". Then the lady of the house went into the kitchen and
started bringing out plates of chicken soup and matzo balls. It was mysterious
for me why only the father said the prayer and at the end of each prayer
everyone said "amen", so I asked. The man of the house said that it means,

"so be it," I guess they are saying that they agree with what ever the
prayer says. Then, while he was answering my question the lady of the house
brought everyone a plate with soup, and we began to eat. While eating, everyone
took turns saying how their day went, what they accomplished that day, and their
plans for the weekend. My parents suggested we go and