“Be Our Guest, Be Our Guest” (But, PLEASE be a good one!)
Don’t be that guy!
You know the one. The one everyone talks about after the party’s over. The rude guest.
The one who smells of cigarettes, alcohol and to much cologne. (Ladies, you know the smell!) UGH.
Or the boorish guest who gets too inebriated to enjoy the entertainment. They talk to loud and whistle so your ears hurt.
Never fear, The Modern Jewish Wedding is here to help. (Ladies (and gents), feel free to post this article to your wedding website for your guests to read!)
Here are 10 Tips to Help You be a Better Guest at a Jewish Lifecycle Event:
Send in your RSVP. Anyone who has had to plan an event knows how much an accurate head count means! Your host and hostess have put a tremendous amount of time in crafting the guest list. You should be honored to be included. Let the family know how happy you are you will be able to attend or that you wish you could be with them. Do not make the host(s) track you down to get an answer. Emily Post says Responding Immediately is your most important task as a guest!
Silence your cell phones. Not only because you would be embarrassed if your phone happened to be the one to ring as the bride makes her big entrance, but also many Jewish lifecycle events take place in the Synagogue and it is not appropriate to use your cell phone (for any reason) within the confines of a worship space (especially on Shabbat–when Bar/Bat Mitzvah take place)!
Despite stereotypes–Jewish weddings start on time. It is sometimes acceptable to arrive after the start of Shabbat services on a Saturday for a Bar/Bat Mitzvah. Ask the host what time to arrive.
When I went to hear my read Torah for the first time, shortly after we began dating, I was embarrassed when I was the only women with my shoulders showing. Dress appropriately! Men may be asked to wear a prayer shawl (tzitzit), a kippah, and women may be asked to cover their shoulders. In some congregations women will also choose to wear a kippah and tzitzit. If you don’t have one and it is required for you to wear to enter the sanctuary on a Shabbat morning the congregation will have one for you. At many life cycle events hosts will order personalized kippot for guests to wear and mark the occasion. Every congregation will have its own tradition regarding what you should wear. It is always best to ask a local member of the same congregation where the simcha is taking place.
When a Jewish bride walks down the aisle we don’t stand!
At Jewish funerals you don’t need to send or bring flowers. It is appropriate to order or send food to where the family is sitting shiva. Or, you can make a gift (usually in a multiple of $18) to a designated charity in memory of the deceased.
Dance! At most Jewish simchas there is traditional Israeli music. Take part in the dancing! It is for the entire community to enjoy. Don’t know how to do the Hora? Stand on the outskirts of the circle and clap or help lift the honorees high into a chair. Jewish lifecycle events are joyous occasions!
Eating? There may be prayers before and after the meal. Before you just dig in — make sure the blessings before eating have been recited!