Shabbat 04/06/13

Shabbat Candles

Passover is over. The matzoh balls were what they were. And I have to say, they were spectacular. It took way too long but I can finally say I’ve mastered the matzoh ball!

Spring break is over. The house has been quiet. Our regular routine makes me appreciate the moments of special time we create and fit into the cracks between school, homework, work, and sleep.

For Shabbat this evening we’ll talk about the Book of Job. I’m interested to hear what my kids have to say on the subject. I’m usually amazed at what they bring to the table. If that’s a no-go, we’ll discuss the Torah portion for this week or use the guide from Family Shabbat Torah Talk. Either way we’ll have some quiet family time.

Shabbat Shalom!

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Keeping Shabbat

Shabbat 03/23/13

Shabbat Candles

Passover is nearly here. I’m deep into my annual matzoh ball dread. No matter what I do, my matzoh balls are heavy as lead. I have these dreams of puffy clouds floating on the surface of my marvelous broth. I have the reality of matzoh balls that sink like rocks. I’m begging you. If you have some matzoh ball tips, please share with the rest of us – or at the very least with me!

For Shabbat this evening we’ll finalize our plans for our family seder. I want to make it special this year. The kids are all definitely old enough to have an opinion and lend a hand. I think it could be fun. I have a book, Jewish Holiday Style, to get us started. After that, I’m sure the kids will have some great ideas of their own.

Shabbat Shalom!

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Keeping Shabbat

Shabbat 03/16/13

Shabbat Candles

Passover begins in a little more than a week.It’s time to think start your preparations in earnest.

Tonight we’ll plan what we’re having for our Seder. We’ll get out the dishes we use for Passover and made sure our dining room is ready.

We’ll decide who is helping with what prep for the holiday, as well as who we will invite to join us.

At dinner this evening, we’ll also decide which siddur to use. Now that everyone is older, we can use one without crayons!

Shabbat Shalom!

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Keeping Shabbat

Shabbat 03/09/13

Shabbat CandlesSpring break is coming up for my college son! It will be good to have him home. He’s not quite into the “Jewish thing” as he calls it. It seems he’s decided to observe the phases of the moon. No. I kid you not. While he’s here, he’ll augment his moon gazing with some Jewish tradition.

Passover is coming up. There’s plenty to do to prepare. It would be nice if everyone were here for the entire holiday, but college-boy will return for at least one Seder.

For Shabbat this evening we’ll discuss what it means to create family traditions. How do we decide which to keep? How do we decide what to do? Why is it important?

Shabbat Shalom!

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Keeping Shabbat

Shabbat 03/02/13

Shabbat CandlesIt’s hard to believe another week has flown by. In fact, another month has flown by – at least by the secular calendar. I’m ready for one of two things: a really big snowstorm or an early spring. This cold weather without snow is getting very old!

This week we’re going to vary our traditional Shabbat dinner and mix it up a bit. We’re going to have an Italian twist and serve ravioli instead of chicken. It’s one of the dinners I grew up with that works on Shabbat. We’ll have a salad and challah, too. For dessert? Ricotta with mini semi-sweet chocolate chips.

I promised a discussion topic each Shabbat. I’ve been giving it a lot of thought. For this week I’ve settled on a question that’s been a hot topic in our house the past few weeks as my 10th grade son prepared to give a speech in English class. Do you believe animal testing should be banned? Are there any circumstances where it should be allowed?

Shabbat Shalom!

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Keeping Shabbat

Your Slip is Showing: Shabbat

These are the things that no one has probably thought to tell you about celebrating Shabbat in the Reform movement. You’ll be glad to know them. Believe me.

  1. When you go to your first Shabbat dinner with a family with a family member who already is, or is studying to be a rabbi, do not feel mortified to discover there is more to Shabbat blessings and ritual than you ever dreamed. Also, do not let it upset you enough that you don’t celebrate Shabbat in your own home for several months.
  2. Read more

Things You Need to Know: Shabbat

Things you need to know to celebrate Shabbat in the Reform tradition:

  1. Shabbat CandlesThe Friday evening meal is traditionally chicken, noodles, vegetables, and challah. This book has plenty of recipes to get you started: The Taste of Shabbos
  2. Grape juice can be substituted for wine. Kedem is a brand of Kosher grape juice.
  3. Shabbat candles must be left to burn until they burn out by themselves.
  4. It’s traditional for the women to light the candles and recite the blessings. (You can start with the blessing for lighting candles, the blessing over the wine, and the Motsi until you’re ready for more.)
  5. It’s customary to break off a piece of the challah, rather than cutting a slice for each person.

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Keeping Shabbat
Your Slip is Showing: Shabbat
Shabbat Blessings
Shabbat Blessings Over the Children

Keeping Shabbat

Shabbat CandlesIt used to feel strange that I was the one who wanted to celebrate Shabbat each week. After all, I was the one in the house who wasn’t Jewish. I hadn’t converted yet, so I was spared the witty remarks about the “zeal of the convert.” Still, at first I was hesitant to press the issue.

One day it occurred to me that not wanting to raise the kids in the faith I’d had as a child did not mean I wanted to raise them in a faith in name only. No way was I raising a bunch of secular Jews. I wanted them to have traditions and memories of family time that were associated with Judaism. Read more

Blessing Over the Children

This blessing is said over both boys and girls:

Y’varechecha Adonai V’yish’m’recha.
Ya’er Adonai panav eilecha vichuneka.
Yisa Adonai panav eilecha v’yasem l’cha shalom.

May God Bless you and guard you.
May the light of God shine upon you, and may God be gracious to you.
May the presence of God be with you and give you peace.

blessing for boys and girls

Listen to the blessing

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Keeping Shabbat

Shabbat 02/23/13

Shabbat CandlesShabbat is here! I love preparing for Shabbat dinner. I enjoy the cooking and the thought that goes into it – when there’s enough time.

When there’s not, we have a rotisserie chicken, fresh-baked Challah from the bakery, and mashed potatoes, gravy, and salad I make for the meal. The kids help. It just feels right.

I think it’s nice to have something special to discuss at dinner. We always tell what the best thing and worst things were that happened that week and what we’re looking forward to the next week. But how about something like ….

What do you think John Ashbery, Pulitzer Prize winning American poet, means when he says, “It is true that I can no longer remember very well the time when we first began to know each other. However, I do remember very well the first time we met.” Does this apply to things other than relationships?

Shabbat Shalom!

No Longer Very Clear by John Ashbery

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Keeping Shabbat

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