General Etiquette When Entering a Muslim or a Jewish Home
- Remove your shoes when you enter a Muslim home. Most Muslims remove their shoes before entering the home. There is usually a special place reserved just outside the door or in the entry way for shoes. It is fine to enter the home wearing socks.
- Bringing a gift to your Muslim or Jewish host is a nice touch. So, what should you bring? If you are invited for tea, coffee or a meal, dessert is a highly appropriate gift. Other appropriate gifts include flowers, vases, and house wares. Never bring a bottle of wine or other alcohol to a Muslim home.
- Whether you are bringing food to your host’s home, or you are the host, dietary guidelines should be followed. Ensure that no food products are made with alcohol, lard, gelatin, or any other pork product. If you are going to a Jewish home, be sure the product is marked Kosher, unless you have been told that non-Kosher products are allowed to be brought into the household. Alcohol of any kind should never be served. If there is a need for the Jewish blessing over wine, use grape juice instead. Do not serve a dish or bring a dish that mixes dairy products with meat products and do not serve or bring a dish that contains shellfish.
- Attire is important. Shorts, sleeveless tops, short dresses/skirts and anything that is too revealing is inappropriate. Pants or a long skirt are acceptable.
- Avoid scheduling a get together over the Jewish Sabbath (Friday an hour before sundown and Saturday night when 3 stars are present) or during the Friday afternoon Jumu’ah prayer attended by Muslims. Check the calendar to learn which Muslim and Jewish holidays should be avoided for meeting.
- If you have a dog, lock it up when your guest(s) arrive. For some, the saliva of a dog can make one unclean for prayer. For others, they may be frightened of the dog or allergic to it.
- Don’t lose sight of your overall objective – build trust and respect as well as positive relationships with your Muslim and Jewish sisters!