Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Seeking Shabbat

In Hebrew, the only day of the week with an actual name is Saturday - Shabbat. Every other day is simply "One day towards Shabbat" or "Three days toward Shabbat..." etc. This is how much Jews are supposed to love, honor and anticipate the celebration of their Sabbath. It is a fantastic concept.

In Judaism, days start on the previous evening. So the Sabbath starts Friday evening. since we've begun "making Shabbos" at home, I have begun looking forward to Friday nights. We wanted to make sure Jack understood the significance of the Friday night ritual of lighting candles, saying the blessings and taking time out to be extra-special thankful. He has finally started wearing his kippah - yarmulke - just like Daddy and takes special pride in his job of placing the candles in their holders. It's nice to know that he is "getting it" in some small ways.

We've recently begun what I hope becomes a very long-standing tradition. We have started a Shabbat pot-luck with a group of close friends that, for the most part, we consider like family. Everyone goes to services beforehand and e all convene at the hosts' home for dinner afterward. The hosts provide the main dish and everyone else takes care of sides, desserts, etc. We all make it a priority to get to services and it takes the burden of making a huge meal every Friday off of a lot of working moms, who now only have to do a crock-pot dish once a month.

My bigger point is this. I have now started to look at Shabbat the way God intended. I look at Sunday as "One day towards the next Shabbat!" or, more like "Oh man! Six more days until the next Shabbat!"

At our inaugural Shabbat gathering, not only did we have some laughs, but we discussed the history of the Holocaust and the future of synagogue auxiliary groups. So there are so fairly serious Jewish-themed discussions going on as well.

One of the things I have been struggling most with during my conversion is a sense of family, a sense of roots. Since my husband's family really won't view me a Jewish even after my conversion, (much as they don;t view Jack as Jewish) they can, or won't offer any help in forming any solid ground in which to plant my Jewish roots.

These people, though, my Friday night Shabbat Friends/Family - They are my home. If I am seeking an authentic Shabbat experience, where I think God is present and looking in on Jews and thinking "This is Good," I have found it. Here is where I think we can all plant roots and continue to bear the fruit of friendship and faith.


Betsey said...

very nice. glad you have found the roots of what will always be your Jewish memories. Sometimes the best family is that which we choose.

Jenny Penny said...

I read this the day you posted it and intended to hop online later and comment. It's pretty lovely. My 10-year and counting faith crisis continues. (Can it be a crisis if it last that long?) It's nice to see you finding so much in your conversion, and man, what I wouldn't give for a crowd that makes you feel like this one!