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! HERITAGE FLORIDA JEWISH NEWS, JANUARY 27, 2012 PAGE 7B Invitation etiquette Josh Sayles Jewish News of Greater Phoenix It wasn't too long ago, be- fore the Internet boom, that paper invitations were sent out for almost every type of event you could throw. Sure, if you were organizing an informal get-together, you could make a few phone calls to friends. But your options were clear, and there were only two: snail mail or telephone. Now. electronic invitations are commonplace, particu- larly in the form of an Evite, Facebook event or email. With the ever-increasing number of ways to say, "Hey! Come celebrate with us!" it begs the question: Is there proper etiquette for inviting someone to your party? "Nothing is inappropriate," saysAmy Petrovsky, president of Sensational Events. an By Sandee Brawarsky New York Jewish Week Whether you give them as a gift or use them to help plan celebrations, there are several handsome new cookbooks of- fering suggestions for cooking and entertaining. And one of them tells how to keep it all "green." For those who like recipes served up with good stories, a new cookbook from Australia includes both, illustrated in full, color. "One Egg Is a For- tune: Memoires and Recipes event-planning company. "If you're doing a happy hour and you want your friends to join you, do a Facebook invite, do an Evite. If you're doing a kids' party or... a night out on the town and it's with people that you know and you've got a level of comfort with, then an Evite is wonderful. It's easy and it definitely works within the realm of 'it's casual but it's OK.'" Both Petrovsky and Barbara Krich, co-owner of Write at Home, an invitations and personal-stationery company, say that the formality of an event determines the type of invitation needed. A typi- cal birthday or anniversary celebration may only require an online invite - a paper in- vitation may better suit a 50th anniversary or birthday bash. "People do not send (elec- tronic invitations) for bar mitzvahs andweddings," says Krich. "They still want an in- your-hand pieceofpaper with a pretty stamp and an RSVP card .... That has not gone by the wayside. But things like Sweet 16s or 'Charlie's turn- ing 80' or 'Johnny's having his third birthday' used to be part of the business and it really isn't anymore." So if you are planning a wedding or b'nai mitzvah, what should the invitation look like? "If you're doing a wedding or a formal affair, then the invitation reflects that look and feel," says Petrovsky. "If it's more of a themed (party), like you're doing a beach wedding, then it may be some- thing unique. You send out a bottle with a parchment in it. I've had (invitations) go out in paint cans and boxes .... There are all sorts of ways to do it. It just depends on budget." Unlike some event plan- ners, Petrovsky doesn't have her clients set aside a certain amount of money or per- centage of the budget for invitations. "The philosophy I instill in my clients is, 50 percent of (the budget) goes right to food and beverage. Don't touch it. So really, you've got (50 percent) for everything else. You take that pie and now you have to cut it up into many different slices..., t tell my clients, 'Let's book your photographer, your entertainment and your venue and then let's look at every- thing else.'" If money is tight, Petrovsky suggests cutting costs by de- signing the invitations yourself. "There's a lotofgreatways to do things if you're willing to take the time and energy and (be creative)," she says. "If you're hiring somebody else out, it's somebody else's time. and of course you have to pay for that." As far as styles of invitations that people are choosing, Krich says her clients are trending away from themed invitations and more toward simple and elegant. "I think they're saving the themes for the party itself," she says. For example, Krich says that a few years ago, a football- themed bar mitzvah party would have reflected that on the invitation. "It used to be a big deal (the client) would put a football on the invitation instead of a Jewish star. They've gotten away from that. Most of what I sell now is simple, it's timeless, it's contemporary." What about RSVPs, then? With all the technology at our fingertips, is it necessary to include a response card and stamped envelope to be sent in the mail? Or does a phone call or email suffice? Response cards must be included, says Petrovsky, es- Cookbooks to help plan celebrations to Share" by Pnina Jacobson and Judy Kempler features 50 Jewish figures from around the world who have shared recipes and anecdotes. Even if you don't prepare Art Spiegelman's Kapusniak, a sweet-and-sour sauerkraut soup with flan- ken. you'll enjoy the Pulitzer Prize-winner's graphic tale of inviting a friend home for some of his mother's cooking. Proceeds from the book are to be given to Jewish elder-care organizations inAustraliaand, from sales in the United States, to agencies here. "Fresh & Easy Kosher Cooking: Ordinary Ingredi- ents, Extraordinary Meals" by Leah Schapira (Shaar Press/ Artscroll) is a well-designed full-color cookbook featur- ing creative recipes with an uncomplicated approach. The recipes are diverse, with classic Jewish dishes as well as more stylish foods. She up- dates traditional foods too, for instance, adding caramelized onions to a traditional pareve kishka. And she incorporates tastes and spices from other traditions, in dishes like Ja- lapeno and Broccoli Soup, Mediterranean Tomato Salad with Za'atar and Creamy Thai Chicken Thais. Schapira, co-founder of CookKosher. com. also includes practi- cal suggestions for pairing foods, proper equipment and seasonal shopping. "Temptations: Modern Kosher Recipes for Every Oc- casion" by Judy Hochsztein, Channa Potash, Daphna Roth and Deena Seelenfreund (Congregation Keter Torah) is a synagogue cookbook that's impressive for its variety of recipes and attractive format with full-color illustrations. In addition to contributions by synagogue members, which include Brisket with Onions and Orange Wine Sauce. Divine Apple Tart. and Aunt Gussie's Vintage Cookie Dough, recipes from professional chefs like "Chef Steven Capodicasa's Horse- radish Pan Fried Salmon" are included. Main course selections feature wine pair- ings, with specific recom- mendations from a variety of regions. pecially for the convenience of older relatives who might not know how to work a computer. But it's never poor etiquette to give your guests multiple RSVP options. For example. she says, it may be easier for a guest who lives out of the country to send you an email. "It's the convenience of your guest that you want to make a high priority," she says. And Petrovsky has one key piece of advice when it comes to choosing an invitation for your event. "Creativity is key," she says. "When you're looking at designing an invitation. step back and think about the message you want someone to receive and the impression you want them to get. What- ever that impression or that message is, that's the format you should use, whether you send a (paper) or electronic invitation." Those putting together community events would do well to read "Simple Actions for Jews to Help Green the Planet: Jews, Judaism and the Environment" by Rabbi Dov Peretz Elkins (Growth Associates). It has sections on reducing waste, recycling, sustainable and Jewish eating and making lifecycle celebra- tions green. Sandee Brawarsky is the book critic at the New York Jewish Week, from which this article was reprinted by permission. A Hew Way ToCelebrate That Important Passage BARMITZVAHATS EA. CO/Vi