Wendy's Shabbat, a film about Jewish grandparents who mark Shabbat at Wendy's every week, will make you feel good about humanity
The world can feel like a pretty doom-and-gloom place sometimes. But this is the feel-good news that literally just made us go awwww. This year’s Tribeca Film Festival features close to 100 movies, but there’s one film in particular that’s warming our hearts. It’s called Wendy’s Shabbat, and it revolves around — you guessed it — fast-food joint Wendy’s, Shabbat, and a group of senior citizens.
Wendy’s and Shabbat might sound like an unlikely pairing, but stick with us: The short documetnary is about a group of Jewish seniors who celebrate the weekly Sabbath (Shabbat) at their local Wendy’s, complete with Hebrew blessings and burgers and fries. That plot line is enough to intrigue anyone.
Filmmaker Rachel Myers, who worked with an all-women team, first learned about this Palm Desert, California Wendy’s Shabbat gathering that’s been going strong for eight years from her grandmother, Roberta Mahler.
While Shabbat is typically enjoyed at home with friends and family, Mahler and her crew of senior citizens decided to move the gathering to Wendy’s.
Besides the fresh, never-frozen beef patties, the founder of the Shabbat group, Sharon Goodman, broke down the reasoning behind the casual restaurant choice quite simply in the film: “We’re not fancy people, so we figured let’s go down to Wendy’s.”
Since they’re in a restaurant, they substitute in electric candles for real ones and grape juice for wine. But the challah remains the same.
The Wendy’s crew has been super accommodating, reserving tables every Friday night and providing the Shabbat crew with milkshakes. And in return, the seniors give the Wendy’s staff any leftover cookies from their gathering.
Wendy’s recently shared on its blog, “We’re delighted that they chose Wendy’s as their gathering place (and we appreciate their love of chicken nuggets and fries), and we hope their story warms your hearts like it did ours.”
Check out the trailer for Wendy’s Shabbat here:
We love this story of community. Out of 4,754 submissions to the Tribeca Film Fest, we can see why Wendy’s Shabbat was one of the chosen few.