ASK JOY: Shabbat, Shiksas, and Sukkahs

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Joy Veh is back with another advice column. She got a Sukkot question that just couldn’t go unanswered, plus a Shabbat question, and a New York reader has some dating advice…

Dear Joy,

My In-Laws are coming over to my house for Shabbat for the first time. I am very nervous. What can I do to impress them?

– Anxious in Apple Valley

Dear Anxious,

Shabbat is such a joyous time of the week, there is no reason to be nervous. We get 52 of them. If this one isn’t special, the next one will be a hit! However, if you follow Joy’s tips for a marvelous Shabbat, your In-Laws will be singing your praises.

Joy’s Tips:

  1. Make sure you start EXACTLY at sundown. I like to set about 27 timers, just to make sure we begin as the sun is coming down. This also means having dinner at 4:25 PM in the winter.
  2. Dress as a famous Jewess- This gets them every time! I like to go out of my way to honor our people. I have dressed up as Mila Kunis, Gertrude Stein, Debbie Friedman, Shari Lewis (with Lambchop) and Leah (wife of Jacob). We always start  Shabbat by playing, “Guess the Jewess in 20 Questions.” Your guests will think this a hoot!
  3. Don’t overthink the food. I usually bring in a few bags of food from Wendy’s and dress them up for Shabbat. It’s what I call, Joy’s Semi-Homemade. I suggest putting parsley on the Pulled Pork Cheese Fries.
  4. Close the meal with a festive Jewish song. I like Barbara Streisand’s People or Barry Manilow’s Mandy.

Your In-Laws will want to keep coming back! Shabbat Shalom.


Dear Joy,

Longtime reader, first-time writer. I’m a 31-year-old single gal who recently moved to NYC. I have some friends here, but am not sure how to get into the dating scene. Tinder has proven to be a bust! Any advice?

– Shiksa on the Upper West Side

Dear Shiksa,

Thank you for such a heartfelt letter! It’s difficult to be single these days. You should feel bad that you are single in New York, because there are so many people. I mean everywhere you go, there are people! My first recommendation would be to get a few jobs. Everyone in “the city” is trying to get by, so it wouldn’t hurt to work. Studies show that most people meet each other at work, so why not have a lot of works? I’d say that you should be working a minimum of 18 hours a day. Make sure to vary up the jobs as well, because you’ll meet different types of people at each one. I gave this advise to my friend Samara and she split her time between banking at JP Morgan, freelancing as a baby name consultant, cocktailling Bubba Gump Shrimp Factory and dressing up as Dora the Explorer in Times Square. Samara met so many men while working. Sadly, she didn’t have any time to see them, but she met men! If working isn’t for you, I don’t think you’ll meet any men. I’d suggest move somewhere like the Democratic Republic of Congo or Afghanistan, where you’d meet thousands of swell guys!


Dear Joy,

The holiday of Sukkot is my favorite! I am living in a studio apartment and I desperately want to build a sukkah. Do you have any tips of how I can celebrate the holiday?

– Lulav in Linden Hills

Dear Lulav,

I adore the sukkah! Last year Ethel and I would order a Domino’s Pizza and eat it under a blanket each night. Such a lovely way to celebrate the harvest season! I completely understand your dilemma, as I have been recently sleeping in storage facilities across town. My advice to you would be to become good friends with those Mormons that go door-to-door. They will have you bowling and going to ice cream socials in no time! Before you know it, you won’t even remember not having a sukkah. My dear friend Hillel became such good friends with the Mormons last year. He is now a Mormon Rabbi or whatever you call them! If that doesn’t work for you, I’d just go and build a sukkah at the Home Depot.

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