Wow! The Shabbat dinner this week was simply incredible, if I do say so myself. I do believe I can say that myself because it was my team’s turn to provide the delicious meal. We divided our team into two smaller teams to really focus on our tasks. Caroline and I were in charge of appetizers and desserts, and Deborah and Hillary were in charge of the main course. Caroline and I began by making a colorful seven-layer dip that was eaten in only a matter of minutes by all the starving fellows. We also made some rich Oreo truffle cake balls, and we bought Neapolitan ice cream to compliment them. Deb and Hillary made taco meat and chicken and provided us with lettuce, cheese, tomatoes, onions, tortilla chips, refried beans and other Shabbat fiesta ingredients. Needless to say, I think this was the tastiest Shabbat dinner so far, and it was the highlight of my week.
We all had a pretty relaxing Saturday; some of us chose to visit the Farmers Market, a true local delight, while others ventured over to Graceland, the home of Elvis Presley.
Sunday morning, we all met at the Dorothy Day House of Hospitality to help with yard work around the home. Dorothy Day was a social activist who lived her life to help the poor. All over America, there are Dorothy Day houses that provide shelter, clothing and food to homeless families who are trying to get back on their feet and find a job. Sister Maureen Griner is the head of the house in Memphis, and she did a great job explaining the goals and mission and how all of us can continue to help and volunteer at the house. There were a number of different jobs, so we all stepped in, got our hands dirty and went straight to work. Gardens in the backyard and front yard needed weeding and minor landscaping adjustments. Some of us shoveled gravel out of a section of the backyard that the staff plans on turning into a small playground. We then used a wheelbarrow and moved the gravel to the sides of the driveway where there were large holes that needed to be filled. I believe that our trip to the Dorothy Day House really instilled a sense of hands-on tzedekah and gave us some perspective in terms of the small things we take for granted every day.
Here’s to another great week in Memphis!