Hostesses With The Mostest > Entertaining and Hospitality

I need your help with an unusual but tricky etiquette problem (long, sorry)

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I would reply "yes" for kiddush only in nearly all circumstances (unless, say, you'll be out of town for the weekend and you already know).

If you don't make it, ask your husband to send your apologies when he greets the family. They will understand (or if they don't, surely they have lots more to think about on the special day).

If you begin to attend synagogue less frequently for any reason or if your congregation shrinks a lot, I'd reconsider, but for now, attending 75% of the time and a 250+ person buffer, I think this is the best route. In my experience, there are likely to be leftovers even if everyone shows up.


--- Quote from: artk2002 on January 23, 2013, 05:37:10 PM ---Interesting. My experience is somewhat limited (I think I've attended about 10 b'nei mitzvah), but I don't recall seeing a separate RSVP line for the kiddush luncheon. Only something for the evening party.

For a lot of reasons, the luncheon has to be flexible about the number of people attending. Unless the send invitations to the entire congregation, there's no way to know who will be there on a given Saturday, making the luncheon line on the RSVP pretty useless for anything but the most general planning. I doubt very much that anyone can plan a luncheon so that an extra leftover bagel, some lox and a few crudites would present a financial loss. If this were a full-on meal buffet, I might be more concerned.

A long-winded way of saying that you should reply 'yes' unless you're absolutely sure you won't be there and not worry if you can't make it on the day of.

Of course, there's no problem with saying yes to the kiddush, but no to the evening event. They're two separate things, otherwise they wouldn't have two separate RSVP lines.

--- End quote ---
I've also never seen the separate line for kiddish, i always thought it was a given that there will be an unknown number of guests - even "regular" synagogue attendees don't always know in advance if they will be there that week, and sometimes people have guests who are invited to join etc.

i would think that you are in the clear if you reply that you will come and then you end up not going. of course, for an evening event you would want to be more precise.

Ultimately, I don't think one more "yes" or "no" is going to make a big difference.  But of course you know that, but still want a polite way to answer.  So here's what I think you should do regarding a kiddush weeks in advance, from a non-friend: respond "no" and make a small notation on your calendar of the date.  Then if you decide to go that Saturday, you quickly check your calendar.  If you see you RSVP'ed "no" you still go, but you make it a personal point to not partake in the kiddush luncheon that day, and simply have other meal plans. Sure having a bit of food probably won't make a difference, but its more the point - the point of the RSVP is for the food numbers, so basically just opt out of the part since you previous said you were opting out; your physical presence at services or in the room with the luncheon is irrelevant as far as the RSVP is concerned.

I know exactly the situation you mean and I'm surprised they have a separate line, but that is for another post.

For your issue, I like the idea of checking yes unless you are certain you won't attend since your husband will definitely be there.  You could also write, "Rabbi Gellcom is looking forward to the kiddish, but regrets that we will not be able to attend the dinner."  That allows you to avoid the question of your attendance at the kiddish entirely and since the count allows 250 extra, you can just be part of the 250 if you decide to attend.

For the gift, I would suggest a nice card or something of that nature, but nothing more unless it is someone you know very well.  I think most families will understand that purchasing a gift for each occasion is likely not feasible.  If you wanted to get a gift for those occasions where you just attend the kiddish, one option would be a small gift that you give a variant of to everyone.  I'm thinking along the lines of a yarmulke for men and something Sabbath related for women.

I would say reply "yes" to the kiddush unless you *know* you won't be there.

What is the likelihood, in percentages, that you'll attend services? 70% of the time you attend? 90%? For me, the only times I miss worship services are if I'm sick or out of town. So I'd always say "yes," and then not worry about it if it turns out that I'm sick or suddenly have an opportunity to go out of town (I wouldn't consider this a "previous commitment" the way I would if I were going to the evening event).

If your likehood of attending is less than 66%, I'd say you could put "no," and then maybe not stay for the meal if it looked like there were going to be a problem.


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