If you are unsure what a Torah fellowship is like or you want to fit in better, I’ve made a video for you! You can watch it below. And below the video, I’ve included the basic outline of my notes. I pray this helpful to you! If you are afraid of gathering with others for whatever reason, I may address your concerns in this video. Please watch it and then join others!
What to expect
Ask questions that are important to you
Ask what to wear
Ask what to bring
Ask where to park
Expect singing, Bible study or sermon, potluck and fellowship time
Ask if you should read a portion ahead and which one.
Expect families, loud babies, and kids
Ask names again and again.
Wear name tags when someone is new.
Expect to pitch in and help.
Ask ahead what time it ends.
Donations are sometimes optional.
Expect a potluck
You do not have to bring anything.
Ask if they eat kosher.
Most are Biblically clean.
If you are unsure, ask the hostess.
Watch out for marshmallows and gelatin.
The Israel of god website lists unclean ingredients. https://www.theisraelofgodrc.com/CUPL.html
If you’re unsure, by something from the store that has a kosher symbol on it.
Bring a serving utensil for your dish.
If your dish is special, like gluten-free, label it.
Try to save those special dishes for those folks.
Offer pregnant women, nursing moms and parents with small kids to go first, then the gray hairs.
Some fellowships may ask you, as a guest, to go first. Graciously thank them and go first.
Bring your own water bottle.
Most provide paper plates but ask ahead.
Of course, eat reasonably.
Go through the line with your kids.
Wash your hands.
The Art of the RSVP
RSVP every time. People set up their homes accordingly.
The Art of Conversation
Die to self
Ditch the resume.
Smile loads, crossing arms is self soothing
Ask how you can pray for them.
Be a positive person.
Tips for Parents
Take a “busy bag.” Keep stuff special for Shabbat. I love this stuff, click here to see Aaron’s putty.
Do try to keep kids quiet when possible.
Ask where you can take your baby if they cry.
Ask if you can put your littles down to nap in a bedroom.
If you want a private place to nurse, ask ahead.
Teach kids to give up their seats for elders and to sit on the floor if necessary.
I often take something for my kids to share with other kids to help them make friends. Legos, or extra coloring supplies, etc.
I let my kids take a book to read, but never be on a device.
I keep my kids with me and rarely allow other kids to sit with us. I want them to listen.
Have a hand signal to let your kids know you don’t agree with what’s being said.
Talk to kids on the way home.
Everyone is insecure. And I mean everyone.
Everyone is a bit worried about being judged.
Fellowship is not a contest.
Don’t be defensive.
Don’t make stuff up in your head.
Be slow to be offended.
Be generous with your appreciation and compliments to musicians, leaders, hostess.
Be brave and sit with someone you don’t know.
Be ready to listen, at least, to Bible discussions and friendly debates.
Be ready for different “flavors.”
Die to Self
Don’t let anyone sit alone. Maybe they are new there, too.
Sit with anyone and everyone.
Don’t try to sit with just the cool people, whatever that means. (We are all equally cool in the Kingdom.)
Never ever gravitate toward richer folks.
Don’t talk badly about fellowships you used to attend.
Never ever be contentious.
Don’t hold grudges. People change.
Be patient with getting “plugged in.”
Serve and love all.
If you have visited several fellowships and say you can’t go to any of them and you think you’re alone. maybe you are the problem, not them.