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Deborah Fishman Shelby

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The author and another person preparing salmon to serve to guests

Are you thinking about hosting your closest family and friends for Erev Rosh HaShanah dinner or Yom Kippur break-fast?

For many, the thought (never mind the practice) of doing such a thing might cause stress and anxiety. For others, there is something exciting about an occasion to create warmth and hospitality, as well as spread love of our Jewish traditions to others.

With all of these ideas in mind, here are some pointers to consider as you prepare to host a fantastic High Holiday gathering.

1. Immerse yourself in Jewish traditions and wisdom about the High Holidays... Read More

Close up of a slice of potato kugel on a white plate

If, like me, you’re planning to host a Passover seder, it is critically important to create one that is warm, welcoming, and inclusive. (Find some tips here for doing so.) This is because Passover is a major holiday through which many individuals – Jews and those of other religions who celebrate together – are exposed to Judaism, whether or not they also engage in dialogue with it at other points in the year.

In other words, as seder leaders, it is up to us to project the warm, inclusive Judaism we want to see in the world. At the seder table, one phrase that perfectly encapsulates...

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People gathered around dinner tables together while a band plays

I gravitate toward cookbooks – of any kind, really. I think though, that there is something very Jewish about the way I use cookbooks, and the way I use Jewish cookbooks, in particular.

First, I love exploring the history and geography of food through cookbooks. I contemplate insights they offer into the origins and uses of foods, and what can be gleaned about the individuals behind the recipes.

Second, I use recipes to spark creativity and invention. If imitation is a sincere form of flattery, taking a recipe and arguing with it, bringing new sources into the mix, and...

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Group of people of varying ethnicities standing together and smiling outdoors while holding instruments as at an event or party

If it’s time for inner reflection, it must be… the High Holidays! As an entrepreneur, I find the practice meaningful as part of the iterative cycle of innovation and reflecting on results, which leads to further innovation. As a network-weaver and community-builder, I find it meaningful to consider not only what would move the dial for each of us individually, but what has the power to transform our community.

I’ve spent two years running FED, which brings New Yorkers together for dinner parties full of gourmet food, inspirational ideas, and the company and creative energy of...

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