57. Jodi Samuels
Author, Speaker, Disability Advocate, Entrepreneur
Hospitality – inviting people to your home is one of the most important Jewish values. The tradition extends from Abraham’s open tent to Jerusalem in Temple times. It’s part of the Passover Seder. Today it’s the hallmark of many communities. Every Shabbat we host 40-50 guests. Our guests include Jewish professionals exploring their heritage, new olim looking to create connections, friends, missions, lone soldiers and gap year students. Our home is open to non-Jews too who are curious about Judaism, Jewish life and culture. We have hosted Mormons, Muslims, Evangelical Christians, Swedish Pastors, East German politicians, Chinese businessmen, international relations students, and U.S. soldiers.
Welcoming people in your home and sharing a meal is the most powerful way to build friendships and break barriers. My children travel in their living room and appreciate other cultures, religions, and perspectives. We showcase beautiful Jewish values. As a 93-year-old Holocaust survivor at my table said, “My whole life I dreamed of sharing a meal with people of different cultures, religions, and race. Thank you for making my dream come true.”
Start by inviting a neighbor, colleague, or student. It’s that easy.