It’s no secret that a major part of Torah Judaism involves Bein Adam L’Chaveiro. Regarding the negative commandments, we need to avoid Lashon Hara, embarassing people, insulting people, taking revenge, holding a grudge, hating in our heart, etc… For the positive commandments, we need to give good advice, find people jobs, apartments, shidduchim, help them grow, and love our neighbors as ourselves, etc…
Our busy weekday lives often minimize our face to face contacts, but thankfully we have Shabbos, a time for God, family, and friends. The positive trend towards reducing conversation in Shul during davening, leaves the kiddush as the major time to build connection.
The food at the kiddush is the vessel over which we connect and too much focus on the food will reduce the positive social interaction. Three variables effect the connection-building capabilities: the number of people; whether it is sitting our standing; and whether it is in the Shul/social hall or in somebodies’ home.
– The more people at the kiddush, the more difficult it is to have a deeper and longer conversation.
– A sit down kiddush creates better connections than a standing one.
– A kiddush in a house is more intimate and connection building than one in the Shul/Social Hall.
The large stand up kiddush in the Shul is at the lower end of the connection-building scale, while a private sit-down kiddush in somebodies’ home creates a high-connection environment. Unfortunately, the sit-down kiddush in somebodies home is usually not a Shul event, it does not scale to Shul size, and it can create an air of exclusivity. The most practical alternative is a sit down kiddush in the Shul. If you scale down the menu to cracker, cookies, chips, dips and drinks, the sit down kiddush becomes more achievable.
Whatever the form, kiddushim are an important social component of your Shul. We hope and pray that the end of Covid will come soon and the Shul Kiddush in all its formats will return.