Shabbat Shalom

I’m often asked about Judaism and my culture in the blog world, which I absolutely love.  I know there aren’t a ton of kosher “healthy lifestyle” bloggers out there, and I’m glad to be one of them, and someone that you can ask questions!  It actually means a lot to me when I get questions, many of which I just address via email, and not on the blog.

I decided that since everyone seemed to really enjoy my Tu B’Shevat post so much, I thought it might be nice to share Shabbat with you. 

Friday nights at sunset begins Shabbat.  It ends at sunset on Saturday night.  It is meant to be a day of rest, and I think something that is personal.  Many people choose to limit their activity-no electricity, cutting, cooking, etc.  Many people are just aware of it, observe some of the practices and live the day like any other day. Solomon and I are the latter of the two types!

One of the first customs observed once Shabbat starts is lighting the candles.  This is something done by the women of the home, and officially marks the beginning of Shabbat.  2 candles are lit, and blessings are said.

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Our candlesticks (which need a serious polishing!) are representative of the tree of life.  We received them as a wedding gift.  In addition to registering for typical kitchen items, we also registered for Judaica pieces that we knew we would need.

Once the candles are lit, some people (my father in law for example) attend services, then come home for dinner.

Before dinner can start, we always sing Shalom Aleichem, a song of greeting which means “Peace be upon you.”

Next, the Kiddush is recited, which is a blessing over the (overly sweet) wine. 

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Another piece symbolic of the Tree of Life.  Everyone takes a sip of the wine.  Sometimes we use little cups for it.

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Next comes the Hamotzi, which is a blessing over the bread, and is said before any food is consumed.  We always have challah, which is placed on a challah board.

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This is then covered, so as to preserve the priority of the wine, and not make the challah jealous!

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When it’s just Solomon and I, I’ll make a big batch of dough, and freeze it into rolls so that we can have two on Shabbat, and not have a ton of bread leftover!  The reason there are always two is to commemorate the manna that fell from the heavens when the Israelites wandered in the desert for forty years after the Exodus from Egypt. The manna did not fall on the Sabbath or holidays; instead, a double portion would fall the day before the holiday or sabbath. It is these hunks of bread, recognizable by their traditional braided style (although some more modern recipes are not braided) that are commonly referred to as challah. (Source).

When we lived in Boston, we would got to his parents’ house most weeks for Shabbat, or sometimes to another friend or group event.  It is just a nice time to relax, enjoy good food and be with family.  We are very lucky this week because we are going to Boston for the weekend!  I think my 4 year old nephew Alex is the most excited to see us (he asked me the other night when I was going to move closer to him.  It melted my heart)!

We don’t really do anything on Saturday, other than go about our normal business.  When we lived in Boston and visit, Solomon usually attends synagogue.  There is actually a lot more to this, but this is just a basic run down.  Please don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions about Shabbat or any other Jewish customs!

Now, from the box o’ questions:

Was there ever a time in your life that you didn’t want to be a conservative jew and keep kosher?

I was born and raised conservative, more by default.  Though my father was orthodox as a young boy growing up in Brooklyn, his family eventually became more conservative, which was how my mom was raised.  When I was younger we joined a conservative synagogue because my parents liked it and loved the Rabbi (he is amazing, he’s still there!) so it’s really all I knew.  I attended reform services sometimes, mostly for friend’s bar and bat mitzvahs, but I just didn’t like the feel of it, it never felt right to me.  I got comfortable as a conservative!

As for keeping kosher, that’s something I never thought I would do.  Solomon has been kosher his whole life, and it was really important to him.  I thought it would be hard, but it’s not at all, so I don’t mind doing it!

 

One more thing…one of my best friends, Robin, moved to Israel about 2 years ago, and is unfortunately home in Atlanta right now.  Her brother has been in the hospital for a little over a week with blood clotting problems.  There is a lot more to it than that, but I just want to ask that you keep her and her family in your thoughts and prayers right now.  Thank you so much!

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This is us in Israel.  We’re total goofballs!

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13 Responses

  1. I love learning more about your culture. I think more of ‘you’ has come out in your writing when you share these bits of yourself with us. I love when people have strong beliefs, regardless if they are different from mine or not. I find it so inspiring.

  2. I love these posts! My mom is Jewish but I’ve only ever been to reform services etc. Now I don’t practice at all but it is interesting to learn more about my own background!

  3. Great post…thank you for sharing! Also, that bread is just BEAUTIFUL!

  4. Is it strange that I find these posts fascinating? I think it’s just that I love seeing the contrast between two things that are essentially the same… if I were to do a post like this, it would look SO different. 😉

    ❤ ❤

  5. wht a great post. absolutely fascinating and educational too. i look forward to more.

  6. shabbat shalom! I think shabbat is such a wonderful family tradition. I hope to pass it along to my family someday too

  7. Great post. I love the challah cover and I have a very similar one from a kibbutz I was on back in ’96. My mom was raised orthodox and we were raised conservative. I recently married someone who is not Jewish, but my family has been very accepting. We were married by a cantor under the chuppah and even signed a ketubah, so I was very lucky my husband was accepting of these traditions that I wanted to be part of my wedding. Oh, and he even broke the glass!

  8. Thanks, Mo. You are so sweet. Loved the post and really appreciate the thoughts and prayers. The picture of us is cute, too.

  9. I’m sorry to hear about your friend’s brother. I’ll be thinking of him.

    I love challah.

  10. what a beautiful shabbat- i never celebrate and it is something i want to try to do at least once a month

    xoxo
    shelley
    http://findinghappinessandhealth.wordpress.com

  11. yay love this post girl! I am jewish too and seeing that challah just made my heart SING!

    and my best friend moved to isarel tooooo! haha so ironic

    I love shabbat!! 🙂

  12. […] figured since everyone was so enthusiastic about the other holidays I shared, Tu B’Shevat and Shabbat (well, not so much a holiday, but whatever), and about my kosher kitchen that it was a good idea to […]

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