2020 has been my year for full on commitment to Judaism. It has taken me so long to commit for a variety of reasons– most of them fear-based, but some simply logistical issues. When the pandemic hit the US, most of my life went online– work, social life, etc. And that has been a blessing because I now have the time to really investigate and participate in Judaism and Jewish Life. I took a class, I went “shul hopping” on zoom, I finally put a mezuzah on the front door. But the best thing I’ve invested my time in has to be Shabbat.
First of all, Shabbat is probably the one think that keeps me tethered to the concept of time, as working from home has caused the days to blur together. Is it Monday? Is it Wednesday? Who knows, but I definitely can tell you if it’s Shabbat or not! It’s a ritual that both roots me to the moment and gives me a space outside of time. Shabbat is when we light candles, say prayers, and eat homemade challah on Friday night (thank you to Kourtney for baking challot every week!). Shabbat is when we get up slowly on Saturday morning, go to Tot Shabbat on zoom and sing songs, and enjoy each other instead of focusing on all the worldly noise.
I’m not 100% observant yet. I use electronics. We cook meals. We watch TV shows together. But I am learning to define rest for myself and build on that. For me, rest means that keep my phone on but I put it on the counter for the day, out of sight. I don’t answer phone calls or texts, I don’t go on instagram or facebook. I don’t check the news. The world moves and things happen, but I stay out of it, unaware of major events until Saturday night. I don’t crochet (which I love), and I don’t write (which I also love). I try not to create anything new (besides food) until Shabbat ends.
Right now, this way of doing things works for me and my family, especially since we are an interfaith family. It wouldn’t be fair for me to demand that my wife stop cooking, or demand that no one turn on and off lights, or demand that we pre-rip our toilet paper every week (learned about that very recently, it seems like…. a lot).
Instead, I’ve reveling in the moments when Kourtney participates, the moments when Aminah claps along to songs during Tot Shabbat, the moments when we’re all celebrating Shabbat together and building a Jewish foundation for our family. I am grateful for those blessings that Shabbat brings.