Potluck and Politics

It’s always nice when parts of life intersect, and having Shana blog about a Grad Network potluck is a nice example of that.  Plus the eggplant really was awesome.  A shehechianu is a prayer you say for a lot of occasions in Judaism, but particularly for a lot of “firsts.”  

This was a Shabbat for shehechianus. It was the first time I’ve led Kiddush since college, the first time I used my new Art Scroll siddur for Shabbat v’ yom tov, the first time I hosted a Grad Network pot luck in my new apartment, the first time I ever made eggplant Parmesan, the first time men outnumbered
women (almost 2:1) at a Grad Network event, and the first time I am blogging about Shabbat!

Shabbat is always such a special time and all the more special when others help with the cooking and there is limited clean up! Not only was the eggplant my only obligation, but it was super easy and fun to make. Here was my recipe, adapted from a number of sources I found on Google:

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (175 degrees C).
2. Cut eggplant in approximately ½ inch thick slices
3. Beat 1 egg in a bowl
4. Fill another bowl with bread crumbs
5. Coat eggplant slices with egg and cover with bread crumbs (flip it around a couple times in the bread crumb bowl)
6. Bake for approximately 5 minutes on each side
7. Remove from oven and coat with tomato sauce, and sliced (or grated) mozzarella cheese
8. Continue baking for approximately 20 minutes or until eggplant is golden brown and cheese is fully melted

I was so pleased to see old friends and new, and to make acquaintance with some who I’ve never met before. In any diverse group of people it’s interesting to see what conversations occur and how they develop. The anomaly of the evening was that for much of it we were all engaged in a single conversation: Israel and Operation Pillar of Defense. We discussed our personal points of view, those of others we’ve come across, those of the Jewish community as a whole (not that there is one single perspective) and those of non-Jews we happen to discuss it with. What was most fascinating though, was not discussing our views, but how we think other people perceive us (or anyone else) based on what view they hold. While Israel is always a hot-button topic likely to elicit strong views on both sides, no matter what the issue, it was nice to know that we were in a safe space, able to share our views , opinions and feelings without fear of judgment or having to defend our positions, our Jewish-ness, or support for international human rights.

That was my Shabbat this week. Shavuah tov!


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