Tuesday, March 3, 2009

“Somebody has been sitting in MY seat…”

Nothing says “oleh” – new or otherwise - like arriving at a simchah at the wrong time.

Indeed, we made aliyah about ten and a half years ago, and we still have no idea when to show up.

For instance, last night we went to a bar mitzvah. It was called for 7:30, and we got there at around 8:30. After taking one look at the guests milling about aimlessly in the half-empty room, even YZG conceded that we should’ve come later.

Nevertheless, there were two distinct advantages to our “early” arrival:

  1. Parking wasn’t an issue.
  2. Neither was seating.

As some of you are aware, smachot without assigned seating are a pet peeve of mine.

Admittedly, the situation has definitely improved with time. 25-30 years ago, asking people to respond to an invitation was considered to be tacky and distastefully American. Matters have since evolved, and most (but not all) invitations seem to include an RSVP.

Seating, however, is another story.

Many affairs have no assigned seating at all – it’s first come; first serve. Others make a half-hearted attempt at seating. In other words, the hosts make up blocs of tables – rather than individual tables. For example, all the guests from the neighborhood might be seated at tables 15-22 (or something like that).

However, both approaches are awkward and uncomfortable. Guests are inevitably forced to scrounge around for a spot, and often, latecomers end up with no seat at all.

That’s why YZG and I always opt for arranging the seating before our smachot.

And the truth is that more and more hosts are going this route as well.

But in the meantime, a guest’s only recourse is to show up extra early – i.e., about an hour after the official starting time…



  1. This habit of starting parties late in Israel has always puzzled be. Considering how early in the morning everyone gets up, you'd think that people would prefer to end the night at a reasonable hour so that they could go home and get some sleep.
    (Wait- am I assuming rational thought on the part of Israelis?! I'm so sorry, I don't know what I was thinking.)

  2. On the bottom right there are 95 labels!!!

    Make the next 5 post about new subjects so there will be 100!!!

  3. SuperRaizy - I don't think anyone actually *plans* on starting late. It's just hard to get the party going when none of the guests have arrived...

    MAG - 95? I didn't realize that there were that many. Do you have any suggestions for five new subjects? Maybe I could do an agricultural post...

  4. I always show up too early - on time more or less. I am too much of a yekke

  5. i might have an idea:

    there are five letters you
    still didnt use for labels:


    make a post each one in a label
    that starts in one of those letters.

  6. Rafi G. - If it was up to YZG (aka "Mr. S." בלעז), we would also get there more or less on time. But we've compromised, and now we usually try to leave home at the time the affair is supposed to start (assuming that the hall is more than just a few minutes away).

    YAT - Hmm. Well, I could write that one of your cousins is IY"H going to be *Q*ueen Esther on *P*urim and that the CTO recently had an *X*-ray on his foot. Do you have any ideas for *V* and *Z*? I don't know anyone who wants to dress up as *V*ashti or *Z*eresh...

  7. Even I've come around and I now think that leaving home at the time the simcha is called for is not a compromise, but L'Chatchilah.

  8. the next subject can be: Labels...

  9. YZG - That's true. BTW, comments from you on two consecutive posts? I could definitely get used to this...

    MAG - So, what you're saying is that you want a "labels" label?


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