The short documentary film “Wendy’s Shabbat,” about a group of Jewish Senior citizens who celebrate Shabbat dinner at their local Wendy’s fast food restaurant—where they say prayers and light candles along with their hamburgers and fries—has been picked as one of the 55 films out of 4,754 submissions to participate in the 2018 Tribeca film festival on April 21.
For the past eight years, a group of Jewish senior citizens in Sun City, Palm Desert, California, have participated in a Shabbat dinner every Friday night at their local Wendy’s fast food joint.
They are in their eighties and nineties. they light Shabbat candles at the restaurant, say Kiddush and Hamotzi on grape juice and Challah (Wendy’s does not allow wine). Their Shabbat meal includes some unorthodox choices, such as Wendy’s Baconator® (a bacon cheeseburger), alongside chili, baked potatoes, french fries and a refreshing Frosty®.
Indeed, as the film’s website puts it, “this is a story of rediscovering the joys of community again in older age, and in the longing for ritual, however unorthodox it may appear. There are themes of love, of ritual and of community — all within the context of an adorable scene at Wendy’s.”
Filmmaker Rachel Myers, whose grandmother Roberta is a regular at these Shabbat dinners, captures this unique subculture in her documentary “Wendy’s Shabbat,” which will have its New York premiere at the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival on Saturday, April 21, as part of the “Home Sweet Home” Shorts selection.