Guests of different faiths often bring questions to our table. “What is this food called?” “What does that blessing mean?” “Do you do this every night?” In answering their questions, we engage in a process of dialogue and discovery. From tablecloths to recipes, to the words we speak, outsiders often help us to appreciate the things that we overlook. Inviting them to our table and sharing a meal is truly a blessing, not just of fellowship but of new insight.

You sustain all life.

May it be Your will that just as we have sat down and eaten together at this table in peace, so should all people be able to sit down and eat together in peace. Sustain us through Your goodness, mercy, love, and compassion to complete Your holy work of perfecting the world.

The ritual is simple. As you take your seats around the table, take a moment to become more aware of those with whom you are about to share this meal. Offer words of welcome.

How good it is to sit together as brothers and sisters.
Blessed are You, our God, who sustains us with bread from the earth.

For the Lord Your God … loves the stranger, providing the stranger with food and clothing. And you too shall love the strangers, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt. (Deuteronomy 10:17-19) And the foreigners who join themselves to the Lord and hold fast my covenant…these I will bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer; their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be accepted on my alter; for my house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples. (Isaiah 56:6-7)

Irwin Kula, Vanessa L. Ochs in The Book of Jewish Sacred Practices