Please enable JavaScript in your browser to experience all the custom features of our site.

Mr. Harry Skydell, Chairman
Mr. Mark Karasick, Vice Chairman
Rabbi Yakov Horowitz, Director
Rabbi Avrohom M. Gluck, Director of Operations
The first 1000 members will have a chance to win a
16 GB
with Rabbi Horowitz audio

Membership Benefits:

  • Save articles to your favorites folder.
  • Save and print selected articles in a PDF journal.
  • Receive emails containing the latest comments on your favorite articles.
  • Mark articles as "READ".
  • More member features coming soon...

Raffle Rules:

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. To enter, complete the signup form and join as a member. Incomplete entries will be disqualified. All entries shall become the property of CJFL. CJFL is not responsible for lost, misdirected or delayed entries.

The contest is open to the general public. Members need to be at least 18 years old. Identification must be produced on request. Employees of CJFL, its raffle sponsor, advertising and promotional agencies and their respective affiliates and associates and such employees' immediate family members and persons with whom such employees are domiciled are excluded from this raffle. ALL PREVIOUSLY REGISTERED MEMBERS WILL BE AUTOMATICALLY ENTERED INTO THIS RAFFLE. The prize is not redeemable in cash and must be accepted as awarded. Decisions of the raffle judges are final - no substitutions will be available. By claiming the prize, the winner authorizes the use, without additional compensation of his or her name and/or likeness (first initial and last name) and municipality of residence for promotion and/or advertising purposes in any manner and in any medium (including without limitation, radio broadcasts, newspapers and other publications and in television or film releases, slides, videotape, distribution over the internet and picture date storage) which CJFL may deem appropriate. In accepting the prize, the winner, acknowledges that CJFL may not be held liable for any loss, damages or injury associated with accepting or using this prize. CJFL retains the rights, in its absolute and sole discretion, to make substitutions of equivalent kind or approximate value in the event of the unavailability of any prize or component of the prize for any reason whatsoever. This contest is subject to all federal, provincial and municipal laws. CJFL reserves the right to withdraw or terminate this raffle at any time without prior notice. One entry per person.

On Shabbos Meals
by Rabbi Yakov Horowitz
Publication: Chicago Community Kollel

  Rated by 4 users   |   Viewed 13421 times since 7/12/07   |   4 Comments
Decrease Font Size Increase Font Size    [ Change Font Size ] Email This Article to a Friend


Dear Readers:

Over the years, I’ve written a number of columns and lectured ‘early and often’ about the importance of parents having enjoyable, relaxed Shabbos meals with their children – and each other.In my years of dealing with countless families across the spectrum of Orthodox Jewry, I have found that far too many parents get caught up with the important ‘trees’ of their Shabbos tables (zemiros, divrei Torah, review of parsha sheets, etc.) and lose sight of the ‘forest’ (making their Shabbos meals something their children look forward to week after week).

In the frenzied pace of modern-day life, it is more important now than ever that we carve out time for our families to spend quality time together – to bond, talk, and to nurture the most important relationships that we form during our years in this world. I underlined the words ‘and each other’ in the previous paragraph to highlight my feeling that spouses also need the quality time that Shabbos affords – to develop the closeness that will result in Shalom Bayis that helps children thrive.

Recently, my chaver, Rabbi Naftali Eisgrau, who serves as the Menahel of Yeshiva Beis Hachinuch in Monsey, shared with me a remarkable story that he heard from Rabbi Ephraim Nisenbaum of Cleveland which brings home the ‘forest’ component of our Shabbos time with our families. As is the case with so many other facets of life, we often gain perspective and appreciation of the gifts that we all take for granted through the eyes of others.

I contacted Rabbi Nisenbaum and asked him to share his experience with our readers. Here is his narrative of the incident:

I run an adult education center in Cleveland, and I was asked to speak at a medical seminar for healthcare professionals about sensitivity to different cultures. I was on a panel with a representative of the Amish community and several other ‘faith-based’ leaders. I spoke for around 15 minutes about kashrus, Shabbos, and negiah. After my presentation, there was a question-and-answer session, during which a woman in the back of the room raised her hand and somewhat timidly inquired, "May I ask you a question unrelated to your talk?" I wasn't too surprised at the request, as people often stop me to ask about religious Jewish appearance and practices. But her question really threw me for a loop.

"I work at a clinic where several Orthodox Jewish families are serviced. How do your parents get their children to behave so nicely in the doctor's office?” she wanted to know. I was rather surprised, as I never really noticed Orthodox children acting so differently than other children, but I knew I had a 30 second- opportunity to make a kiddush Hashem. I thought quickly of how to respond, when a thought came to me.

"How many times a month does anyone here get a chance to eat an uninterrupted meal with your family?" I asked. Not one person among the crowd of over 70 people raised a hand. "How about in a year?" I followed. A few participants then spoke about Thanksgiving and other holiday meals, but quickly conceded that the ‘guys were running off to watch the football game’ or working their blackberries.

"Well, the Sabbath observant family gets that opportunity twice each week, Friday evening and Sabbath morning. The family eats a fancy meal together. No telephone interruptions, since we may not answer the phone on Shabbos. No computer games or TV shows, since those are also not permitted on Shabbos. No "I'll be a little late, as I have some more work to catch up on in the office," since we don't go to work on Shabbos. And no "Can we please hurry up, I have a tennis or golf game I promised to play," since we don't play those on Shabbos either.

Just the family together, enjoying each other's company over a good meal. There's really no choice but to talk to each other. I think that's what makes the Jewish family more connected, allowing the parents to have more influence on their children – which obviously carries over even to the doctor's waiting room."

I was amazed to see the heads of the participants nodding in sheepish agreement. I think that my words, with the help of Hashem, made a lasting impact on the audience. Please feel free to share this with your readers in the hope that it will enhance their appreciation of the wonderful gift that we have – our Shabbos.

Kol tuv and hatzlacha.

(Rabbi) Ephraim Nisenbaum

Cleveland, Ohio

© 2007 Rabbi Yakov Horowitz, all rights reserved

To sign up for Rabbi Horowitz’s weekly emails, please click here.

Related Articles:
Shabbos Guests
Shabbos Meals

Reader's Comments:      Rating & Comments Policy      Rate & Write a Comment!
 Average Rating:              Rated by 4 users    (4 comments)
Subscribe to this Article
(by subscribing you will receive email notification
when new comments are posted)
There are no comments yet. Click above to write the first comment.
Dear Readers:

Please visit our Parenting Resource listing to learn about agencies and services that you can make use of. If you know of an agency that can be of assistance to others, kindly drop an email to our site administrator at and pass along the information to him.

I ask that you please consider supporting the work we are doing to improve the lives of our children. Click on these links to learn more about our teen and parent mentoring program that serves hundreds of teens and their families, or our KESHER program, now in 20 schools in 4 states. Your financial support can allow us to expand these services and help more children.

If you believe in the governing principles of this website – to help effect positive change through the candid discussions of the real issues we collectively face, please consider becoming a daily, weekly or monthly sponsor of this website and help defray the costs of it’s maintenance.

Working with Families and Educators on Behalf of our Children

This site is managed by The Center for Jewish Family Life, Inc., 56 Briarcliff Drive, Monsey, NY 10952
Project Y.E.S. was founded by Agudath Israel of America
The Center for Jewish Family Life/Project YES - 56 Briarcliff Drive, Monsey, NY 10952 (845) 352-7100 ext. 114 Fax: (845) 352-9593