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  • Writer's pictureJodi Samuels

If only we could create a world like your Shabbat table

Naomi Waldman Isboutsky

A few years ago, we hosted an incredible Shabbat meal.

My husband, Gavin invited his work colleagues including two Muslim Arab Israelis. We also hosted two elderly Holocaust survivors who live in the neighborhood. We had non-religious friends, friends who were olim from Hungary and Belgium, a recent convert from the U.S. and his Scottish wife and a visiting non-Jewish Swedish artist. It was a real kaleidoscope of Israeli society at our Shabbat table.

Naomi Waldman Isboutsky was born in Antwerp Belgium and miraculously survived the war. She made a l’chaim - a toast at the table stating “I survived the horrors of the Holocaust and I have always dreamed of having a meal with people of different nationalities, religions, and ethnicities. I am 91 years old and finally my dream has come true.”

At the end of the night my son walked one of the ladies home. Gavin was going to walk Naomi home when his Arab colleague stopped him and said that in his culture a host should not leave his guests. He put his arm gently around Naomi’s shoulders and insisted on walking her home.

Today I ran into Naomi in the supermarket. She told me she dreams of living in a world that could be like our Shabbat table, people living together in respect and harmony regardless of race, religion, ethnicity or background. May her dream come true.


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