Dear Seminary Girl // A little acknowledgment goes a long way

By Miriam O.

Dear Seminary Girl who called on Sunday to ask if she and three friends could come over for Shabbos, then showed up 30 minutes before candle lighting with a candy platter before settling in and appearing (with the three friends) in time for Kiddush, after which they hurried off to bed with a huge yawn and woke up 25 minutes before the Shabbos day meal in time to daven, then returned to bed as soon as they’d finished only to wake up for Havdalah:

I would like to give you an idea of what goes into making it possible for you to join us for Shabbos. As soon as I hung up the phone with you, I quickly stripped the guest beds to start the three-hour laundry process. Then I sat down to create a “seminary girl-friendly” menu. On Tuesday I did my Shabbos shopping, complete with healthy snacking options and diet drinks. On Wednesday I started with my homemade dips. I also cleaned the house and made the guest beds. Thursday morning was spent cooking several kugels, schnitzel, fish, spelt challah and two desserts. Friday was super-hectic because my six children got home early. I had to set the table and finish folding the laundry. Then I managed to clear the toys from the living room and put up a potato kugel especially for you when you arrived. Let’s just say that by the time I lit candles I was completely wiped out.

Here’s the thing. Although you girls owe me nothing, common courtesy would dictate that you offer to help me clear away the dishes, set up before the meals or take the children outside for an hour.

Dear Seminary Girl who called on Thursday night to sweetly apologize that she unfortunately double-booked, and she and her two friends will not be joining us for Shabbos after all. And also Seminary Girl who brought along an extra friend for the entire Shavuos without asking first:

I live here. I am not just visiting. I pay rent. I buy groceries. I send my children to school. Your year in Israel may be only temporary and full of adventure, but I have to put my children to sleep every night. I clean my house and do the laundry. I have an established life with a lot of responsibilities. Even if I’m only planning to remain here for another few years, running a household doesn’t allow for the same spontaneity and carefree attitude that you can afford to have. Giving has to be a two-way street, and this is a wonderful opportunity for give and take.


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