Shabbos meals #belarus


Does anyone know the prevalence or geographic relationship of the custom of eating dairy meals for Friday night dinner?  When I was growing up, the default dinner for Shabbos was milchig.  Both sides of my family were from northwestern Belarus, my father's side from Smargon, and my mother's from Soly, with Kruki, Lithuania in the mix. 

When I asked about milchig dinners, because my friends had fleishig, I was told that "all Smargoners ate milchig on Shabbos",  by a former resident.

Molly Staub

My maternal family was from Ukraine, my paternal side from Bessarabia. Every Jewish family we knew had chicken on Friday nights,



Molly Arost Staub, M. A. in Journalism

E-mail staubmolly@...


AROST Bessarabia


BERENSON-Ukraine and England

GRAFFMAN/GROFFMAN-Ukraine and England

Abraham Schijveschuurder <ams@...>

i originate from Holland where this is happening. In particular on seder nights milchig is eaten! And moreover on shabbes mornings.

Sally Bruckheimer <sallybruc@...>

The story I heard was that if somebody was having chicken and it wasn't Shabbos (Friday night), then one of them was sick.
So Shabbos was chicken.
Sally Bruckheimer
Princeton, NJ

Deanna Levinsky <DEANNASMAC@...>

Was a dairy meal less costly?
Deanna Mandel Levinsky 
Long Island New York 
Deanna Mandel Levinsky

Deanna M. Levinsky, Long Island, NY

David Ziants

As a teenager in London, England, I was becoming more religious, and my parents agreed to let me join a Jewish religious school and one of the conditions from the school was that my parents had to make a proper Friday night dinner with kiddush, etc. They felt that it had to be fried fish every week because they drew their inspiration from friends who were more religious and always had fried fish on Friday night. I have no idea of the roots of these friends, but I also always wondered why. Then an idea came to me, that possibly in the old country they did not want to overtly offend their Catholic neighbors (who do not eat meat on Fridays), so they went for the fish option. Just an idea, but I have nothing to base this on.

David Ziants 

Marcia Segal

Fleishig for Fridays, because it was fancy food and not inexpensive.


Roberta Schoen

I have heard that in France they have milchog on Shabbos since Catholics have no meat on Fridays and they didn’t want to offend them/stand out.  



 I grew up in a small town in south Texas (and still live in that area but in San Antonio) which was and is heavily Catholic and school lunches on Friday were never meat.

Herschel Sheiness

Chana Bonn

We often had fish, i.e., milchig, on Friday nights because there was always fresh fish from the fish monger who came around the neighborhood to provide our many Catholic neighbors with fresh fish on Fridays.  My cousin, who lived in a different neighborhood, complained!! to his mother that Friday night dinner was always the same--soup and chicken!  

Lee Hover

We were not religious, but every Friday nite it was chicken soup & chicken.    (And my mother was a lousy cook!)

Mashiach L. Bjorklund

Milchig was not part of my growing up family experience, but my wife's maternal ancestry is Sephardic. Their Shabbos meals were often milchig and included fish. Since I am the family cook I have researched Sephardic dishes as a way to connect my wife and kids to that heritage. Perhaps your ancestors were influenced by Sephardic Jews within their community.

Gerald and Margaret

Do make contact with a Jewish charity helping the small scattered communities in Belarus.  It's called the Together Plan, with a director in London and one in Minsk.  They will know how to connect withe older members and cast a light on your family custom.  

Margaret Levin 
London N3

Diane Jacobs

Too bad. We had the same meal and my mom was an excellent cook. Her kishka, potatoes kugel and potato latkes were the best. 

Diane Jacobs 

Sent from my Verizon, Samsung Galaxy smartphone

-------- Original message --------
From: Lee Hover <Lee.hover@...>
Date: 7/27/20 1:25 PM (GMT-05:00)
To: main@...
Subject: Re: [] Shabbos meals #belarus

We were not religious, but every Friday nite it was chicken soup & chicken.    (And my mother was a lousy cook!)
Diane Jacobs, Somerset, New Jersey

Martyn Woolf

It may well be due to Spanish influences.  After the banishment of Jews from Spain, many went to Eastern Europe and many other parts of the World. In Spain under the Inquisition, in order to preserve the fiction that they had converted to Catholicism, Jewish families ate fish or milk meals on Friday nights.

We only had fried fish on Friday nights at home. I still miss it when we have something else.

Martyn Woolf