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Jewish Dining Etiquette

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The other day, I wrote about Chinese dining etiquette… so here’s a public service article directed to gentiles, when dining with Jews.  Once again, let’s call upon Em-Mee Lee Post our resident expert on manners and etiquette to teach us proper Jewish dining etiquette.

Bad Dining EtiquetteIn their simplest form, Jewish dining etiquette is predicated on one simple principle:  “Don’t do anything to annoy the host”!  Trust Mee.  If you do, you’ll live to regret it for the rest of your life, and the lives of your children and grandchildren, and their children’s children.  Kina Hora!

Do NOT be this guy ==>

The reality though of the situation is quite the opposite.  Eight, being a very lucky Jewish number, will be the number of Jewish dining etiquette tips that we will present in this article.  More than that is hard to make up, I mean remember.  Less than that and you’ll be doing yourselves, and your host, a disservice.  Trust me, as noted above, you do not want to do that.

8 Jewish Dining Etiquette Tips:

  1. Proper Jewish Dining EtiquetteDon’t ignore your hosts and their other guests. Friends are often invited over at the same time, and they usually have a lot of news to catch up on (having not spoken in at least an hour!). So they seat themselves at the end of the table, turn to each other, begin talking and proceed to ignore the rest of us the entire evening.
  2. Never insult your hostess’ cooking. In fact, obsequious flattery is a fine strategy.  By the way, if you don’t know what “obsequious” means, don’t use it in conversation!
  3. Don’t ask unnecessary personal questions, like details about your host’s income and business deals.
  4. No whispering. This is a behavior that even very young children recognize as slightly mean and exclusionary, which is of course why they do it!  Same tip goes for speaking in a foreign language.
  5. Don’t communicate that you can’t wait to leave, even if your children keep piping up, “Can we go yet?”
  6. Don’t make derogatory, impatient or dismissive comments about your host’s children (even if they deserve it!).
  7. Failure to appreciate that the host and hostess have spent time, money and effort on your behalf. Though the host may try to dismiss it as “I was cooking anyway,” the clever guest knows that this is not all true.
  8. Not saying thank you.  Burping is NOT the same as saying “thank you”!

Stick with these tips, and you’ll be sure to be invited back again and again.  And, as an added bonus, if you stick around Jews long enough, it’s only a matter of time before you get invited out for Chinese food!

Humbly submitted for your consumption,

Mee Magnum  (“Chop!  Chop!”)

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