A month of Sabbaths

Every Saturday of the last four weeks has been unique and given me ideas I have wanted to write about, but time slips by…

So, before I forget…

Four weeks ago – Dad was feeling under the weather, so I headed out with the boys. The weather prediction was for rain, but as we left the house, it was just a pleasant mist hanging in the air. I thought, for a moment about taking the umbrella (you know where this is headed, right). We got about 1/3 of our walk to the synagogue, and it began to rain. We kept going. We pulled out hoods up over our heads and picked up speed. The boys were great. They didn’t complain (well, there was at least one complaint: “Why couldn’t we drive?”). We plugged along, and arrived at our synagogue drenched. S didn’t mind. He just ran around a lot and his pants dried out. J is less tolerant of discomfort, but fortunately for us, his preschool cubby was available, with his change of clothes handy. It made for laughs with friends about our sogginess and we dried off.

Three weeks ago – our good friends’ first son celebrated his Bar Mitzvah. These friends have been our model for shabbat observance and guides and advisors about the kosher laws and holiday observance and tradition. This family is connected to many areas of the Jewish community, so the guest list was large. And it included families who are “Shomer Shabbos” – observant Jews who do not cook, spend money, write, operate electrical devices, or do other activities prohibited on Shabbat. And we were one of the hosting families for a family who are Shomer Shabbos. We knew them from baseball – their youngest son is on S’s baseball team. And, we were a little nervous about being hosts, as we really wanted to make sure our guests were comfortable. We made sure that the rooms we offered our guests had lights with timers set, so they wouldn’t have to turn light on and off. We did forget about the fridge light (the truly observant either remove the lightbulb, or have refrigerators that have a Shabbat setting to prevent the light from turning on when the door opens). Anyway, it turned out that our guests were easy guests, and they seemed comfortable with our home. And the entire Shabbat experience, for us, was amazing! We started with dinner Friday night at the synagogue, and ended with Havdalah at the synagogue, 25 hours later. Most of that time was spent at the synagogue – the musical entertainment was provided by an A Capella group called six13, who were amazing!! And, we all spent an entire Shabbat together, observantly and joyously. Oh, and the Bar Mitzvah boy gave an incredibly insightful Dvar Torah (like a sermon). You can read it here.

Two weeks ago – I was “service leader” for the morning services. Right now, our synagogue doesn’t have a full-time rabbi. We have a wonderful interim rabbi, who is contracted to officiate at services twice monthly, and we provide “service leaders” for the weeks when he’s not here. I was it. But the cool thing was that someone else was already signed up to deliver the Dvar Torah, so I only had to worry about the Misheberach prayer – reciting a medium length prayer on Hebrew, interjected with the names of those in our community who are sick – it’s a prayer for healing. My Hebrew is getting better all the time, but I get nervous reciting out loud. So two things about this particular Shabbat:

  1. The Dvar Torah was amazing!!  Read it here.
  2. The kids had a special program – a totally new thing at our synagogue.  They were called out during services, and were provided with a script (I still don’t know how the organizers figured this out in advance, given that they could have no idea of who was going to be available to participate).  They prepared a “play” for us, which they performed during the Kiddush (what I fondly think of as the equivalent of “coffee hour”  in the protestant environment of my childhood).  I intend to write more on this separately, so check back!

Last week – our synagogue’s annual Youth Shabbat – the entire service was led by our “young people” (doesn’t that sound so “square” and “uber-adult”?).  S participated in his age group’s part of the service, and J barely participated in his group’s part – parading with the Torah at the end of the Torah service to return the scrolls to the Ark.  The Kiddush luncheon was kid-friendly, and there was an ice cream “bar”.

I can’t wait for next week!!  – Oh wait, yes, I can.  I’m slated to lead “Tot Shabbat” – once a month, I play preschool teacher, which is not a familiar role for me, and I think I need to look around for a replacement.

Any volunteers??