Rabbi Gary Cutler and his wife Sharon, of Young Israel of Syosset Long Island, recently had nine guests over for a Sabbath lunch and served a dairy meal. It is customary for rabbis to often host guests for either Friday night dinner, or Saturday lunch following services. As Jewish dietary laws forbid the serving of meat and dairy together, usually meat is served, but on this rare occasion, Mrs. Cutler decided to go dairy. “I thought it would be a nice change. I mean, we almost always serve meat and I just wanted to spice things up a bit.” While no one argues that Mrs. Cutler is an excellent cook, and her food is way above par, it was the choice that had guests angry.
Jeff Sokol, one of the singles who was invited over, was not too happy. “I hear for weeks that the rabbi makes a great cholent and the rebbetzin makes some kind of corned beef thing with some sauce or something. I finally score an invite and it’s salmon and quiche? Thank God there was at least some kind of dead animal on the menu.” Rose and Marty Stein were two of the guests who, while disappointed, tried to take a positive approach. Marty had this to say. “Sure, I was expecting meat, but we don’t always get what we want in life. I wanted my son to be a cardiologist. Did I get what I want? He’s a tremendous disappointment.” Asher Feldmar, another single who was on the guest list, also looked for the silver lining. “Any time it’s a dairy meal, I just try and get through the main course. After that, dessert is usually a bonus because we can have stuff like cheesecake, cookies with real chocolate and not that parve garbage, and also ice cream.”
All of the guests acknowledged that Mrs. Cutler is a superb baker, and did indeed have great dairy desserts, but that hardly seemed to make up for the fact that meat could not be served. Many seemed to feel that it wasn’t so much the choice of meal, but that no one was warned. Josh Gruenberg, another one of the singles had this to say: “I really don’t mind the dairy choice as long as I know its coming. If I have enough warning, I can load up on meat the night before, get in the proper ‘Just roll with it’ mind frame and then I’m good. It’s sort of like going to shul before Yom Kippur. You know it’s coming, just suck it up and deal with it.”
Young Israel’s President, Herb Samuelson, tried to smooth out the situation. “No one should think this is a regular occurrence. I’ll put the rabbi’s cholent, and the rebbetzin’s brisket up against those losers from Plainview any day of the week.” While the rabbi and rebbetzin stood by their choice, they have since sent an email to all congregants assuring them that from now on, if dairy will be served, guests will have at least a two-week warning.