Family Meals


It is not only the best meal of the week, it is often the only meal at which family members gather, talk, and eat together.

I came across this sentence last night as I was reading a book about Judaism by an American Jew. The author was obviously referring to the Friday Shabbat meal.

It reminded me of a conversation I had had a month earlier with a friend. During the holidays she had met a Belgian executive who had gone to the US on a business visit. He was there for several days and got invited to evening meals by several American colleagues. The thing that surprised him the most was that he shared a family meal in only home: that of an African-American family – who incidentally was also the only one where Grace was recited. I have no idea who the other families were.

In France family meals are an institution and if people cannot always eat lunch together they certainly try to do so for dinner. Those that do not are considered dysfunctional. In addition a lot of people do not have the TV on while eating. It is something I enjoyed as a child and still do now.

Is this totally different where you live or in your family?

Short for Time


I have been busy this week: trying to get some rest after a full school term, entertaining my nephew and driving on both snow and ice – among other things – I have therefore too little time for my weekly review but hope to do a more thorough round up next week.

Let me just point out these two very different articles:
The Arduous Community by David Brooks
People of the E-Book? Observant Jews Struggle With Sabbath in a Digital Age by Uri Friedman

Shabbat Shalom!

A Note of Sympathy


Having my nephew to stay for a couple of days before he takes the train back home, I sympathize with all my blogging friends who need to reconcile work, children and their presence online.

Adrien is a chatty 12-year-old who needs a lot of attention and after all he is not staying with us to spend his life on the computer. We had previously envisaged driving to Belgium where he has never been (he lives in the West of France) but the weather conditions have made this too hazardous. Driving to my parents’ in the snow on Sunday and driving back on ice yesterday has proved enough for my nervous system, not to mention safety. We are planning a trip to the movie instead. Hope I am young enough at heart to enjoy the third episode of The Chronicles of Narnia.

Thursday (Quick) Musings


– I am currently reading Beyond Survival by Shimon Apisdorf with a view to preparing for Rosh Hashanah. It is a useful ressource but I am reading it slowly because I spend a lot of time working for school at the moment.

– Claude Lanzman, the French filmmaker who made the film Shoah, recently published his memoirs. A colleague has just lent me the book and I hope to start reading it soon.

– My brother went back to Honk Kong last Sunday but his wife and daughters are still in France. I saw them again yesterday. My two-year old niece loves looking at photos and books. She is such a lively and cheerful little girl. that it is always a pleasure to see her.

– Last but not least: I am meeting my first class today, three hours in a row. Wish me luck!