If you think about it, eating together is one of the main ways we mark life’s big and small moments. We eat together at holidays. Someone once told me that every Jewish holiday can be summarized as, “Someone tried to kill us. We survived. Let’s eat.” In the US we have a whole holiday that’s really become just about the joy of eating together – Thanksgiving. Weddings and funerals and everything in between.
When we want to get to know someone – first dates, new mothers-in-law, co-workers – we have lunch, dinner, or tea. There’s something about having a meal together that breaks down barriers. The Bible tell us, “It's hard to remain enemies when you've broken bread together.”
Obviously, humans are social animals. We work best as part of a community. Studies have shown that companies that have a strong community are some of the most innovative and successful. People feel energized and committed, and the bottom line reflects that. (I could go on a rant about the quality of food that a company provides as a reflection of how much the company values community and its employees, but I’ll save that for another time.)
When families eat together regularly they have better health and less conflict. Kids have better grades and better self-esteem. Another recent study showed that drug addicts can be cured by being made to feel part of a community.
Eating together is a great way to build or celebrate community. Who are you going to have lunch with today?