Hilly Gross’ Speech
At the 10th Anniversary of the Lincoln Square Beginners Service
For a text transcript of this speech, please click here
What this is:
With brilliant humor (virtually every line is a zinger!), Hilly Gross describes what happened when he invited (as he often did) participants of Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald’s Beginners Service to his home for a Shabbat meal. Many will recognize themselves in this extraordinary piece, and just about everyone will see how these encounters profoundly impact on both hosts and guests.
This video was recorded at the 10th Anniversary celebration of the Lincoln Square Synagogue Beginners Service on February 23, 1986 held in Martin Luther King Jr. High School in Manhattan. While the audio and video quality is at times uneven, the message is resoundingly clear.
Why is it important?
Hachnasat Orchim–welcoming guests into one’s home–is one of the premiere and most fundamental mitzvot in the Jewish religion. Its origin, in fact, is traced back to Sarah and Abraham. Hachnasat Orchim impacts profoundly on Jews who are distant from their religion. Many Ba’alei Teshuvah, if not most, relate that they were deeply influenced in their quest to learn more about their identity by experiencing the warmth and beauty of Judaism in a Shabbat home setting. For many it was the Shabbat experience that made “the difference,” resulting in their religious transformation. As Rabbi Ephraim Z. Buchwald has often said, “For the price of a chicken you can bring a Jew home.”
Welcoming guests for Shabbat and Yom Tov helps not only the guests. Hosts and host families are also impacted significantly, resulting in a higher level of commitment, and a more spiritual Shabbat for them as well.
How we can help you:
NJOP is available at any time to help coordinate hospitality between hosts and newly observant Jews or those who are just beginning to explore their Jewish heritage. We will happily offer prospective hosts copies of A Gourmet Shabbat (make link) to use at the Shabbat table, and gladly help you answer the inevitable questions that arise at the Shabbat table (or at the kitchen sink). NJOP can tell you where local Beginners Services may be found. We will also recommend texts for Divrei Torah, or even just advise you how to successfully ask someone to be your Shabbat guest.