My View on Shabbat
According to Ahad Ha'am, the famous Hebrew writer and Zionist thinker, "More than the Jews have kept Shabbat, Shabbat has kept the Jews." I agree with Ha'am wholeheartedly. Shabbat, in many ways, is the glue that potentially can and will keep Jews together, despite the time or place.
Shabbat is our gift from God; a day of rest amidst a busy week. Shabbat is defined in so many different ways by so many different people. For some, Shabbat is sitting around a dinner table, eating festive foods, singing songs and thanking God for the gifts that are our portion. For some, Shabbat is festive Israeli dancing, both traditional and modern, in a fun and cultural way. For some, Shabbat is attending services at the Synagogue, some on Friday evenings, others on Saturday mornings, joining with community in Shabbat worship and Torah study. For some, Shabbat includes the Havdalah service, saying goodbye to Shabbat until we should meet again.
No one way to observe Shabbat is right or wrong - none are better or worse than the others. The only thing we must do, as modern liberal Jews today, is find a way to celebrate Shabbat, to rejoice on Shabbat, to make Shabbat different than every other day of the week.
In my family, we choose to do some or all of the following:
* Bake Challah Every Friday
* Set the table special for Shabbat Dinner (often set early in the morning)
* Eat Shabbat Dinner with Family and Friends
* Share the blessings over candles, wine, children and challah, as well as Birkat
HaMazone, the blessing after the meal
* Attend Shabbat Services on Friday nights
* Wear White for Shabbat
* Family Time on Shabbat
* Rest on Shabbat Afternoon
* Making Havdalah on Saturday nights, at the conclusion of Shabbat
I invite you to find the magic of Shabbat, to embrace the holiness of Shabbat, and to find a way to share it with friends and family.