Friday, March 14, 2008

Tot Shabbat

I've never been the "good Jew" in my family, but I've always loved the ancestral and familial traditions and was given a religious school education replete with Sunday school, Hebrew school, Bat Mitzvah and confirmation. I've struggled throughout my adult life to find my own truths in Judaism specifically and spirituality in general as I've tried to embrace the aspects that resonate deeply while holding aside the pieces that don't fit for me. Lately, as they tend to do, the children have drawn me back to the basics of my own childhood and shed a twinkling light on the rituals of Judaism.

We've returned to Tot Shabbat, a monthly Friday evening candlelighting "service" at our synagogue where the children are invited to sing, share in the handwashing and candlelighting, eat a yummy potluck and even run onto the bima. Our gifted, gracious and generous Rabbi Naomi wrote some Shabbat reflections to share with the congregation and the thoughts are too lovely not too share. She says...

Here are some suggestions for enjoying the Meals of Shabbat:
  • Imagine you are dining in the Garden of Eden
  • Avoid talking about work, money, politics or sad subjects
  • Meditate on your food as a gift from the Creator
  • Use a pleasant, quiet voice
  • Look at one another with soft eyes
  • Imagine the Shabbat table is the altar in the ancient Temple
  • Take breaks from eating to sing or learn Torah
  • Feel the presence of your ancestors celebrating Shabbat with you
We could all use a little more Shabbat in our lives!

1 comment:

Candace said...

Hannah has morning shabbat every friday at the jcc and we always go as a family. it's funny, my husband loves it the most and he is not jewish. he loves the emphasis on family and tradition. It's ironic as we've had to search for a congregation that is inclusive of intermarriage. We also struggle with organized religion in general as the "my god is better than your god" thing doesn't really work for us (or anyone!) But I think we finally found a place and maybe we just have to merge our beliefs with some others and reinvent it for ourselves. But for now, the pre-school shabbat is where it's at!