It is often said that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. It turns out that it may also be the way to religious observance. After all, what would erev Shabbat services be without an oneg, or Shabbat morning services without a kiddush lunch? Or a committee meeting for anything Semitic without a box of Entenmann’s?
A couple of weeks after Big Girl and Skater got home from their first big overnight camp experience last year, we got a package from camp for Skater. It seemed he had earned a T-shirt for going to optional shacharit services. My kid got up early and prayed voluntarily? My heart was filled; I was ferklempt with nachas.
We hugged him and kissed him and told him how proud we were, but he shrugged it off: “I don’t know why more people didn’t go,” he casually observed, “they gave out hot chocolate and donuts after.”