Don’t You Worry ‘Bout a Thing

I love these candles.

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These candles that are almost all burnt, off to the side of me on the kitchen table, on this first Friday night since we moved the clocks forward. It’s 7:47 and almost dark, three stars in the sky, if ya know what I mean. And the Sabbath lights are lit in my kitchen window.

I lit ‘em, yep, I did.

And I said a little prayer. And then it was Shabbat. The Sabbath. Or Shabbos if you prefer. As in Good Shabbos.

The two candles are sitting in ceramic holders I bought in Jerusalem during my junior year of college at Hebrew University over thirty years ago. (Geez, that’s crazy. OVER thirty years.) Candlestick holders were a relatively easy relic for a naïve American 19-year-old girl with limited Hebrew skills to purchase from vendors in the Old City. Continue reading

Insta-Seder

photoIt all started so innocently.  Yesterday, I casually mentioned to My Beloved, who is not Jewish, that tonight was the start to Passover, which meant that we’d have a good use for the chicken stock she’d made the other night… we could eat it with matzah balls!  You see, last year, for the first time in the 2-1/2 years we’ve lived together, we hosted a seder for some friends, and among other Jewish delicacies, MB made the most delicious matzah balls — a total hit, especially considering she’d never done it before!  (“Chicken soup and dumplings,” she said tonight. “No biggie.”)

We’ve been invited to a large seder tomorrow night, so I wasn’t planning on doing anything special at home tonight, besides eating matzah ball soup.  I’d said I’d bring charoset to tomorrow night’s gathering, but haven’t seen kosher wine anywhere (no booze in supermarkets here, and the nearby liquor stores wouldn’t carry much), so figured I’d deal with making it tomorrow. At least this weekend I’d had enough forethought to pick up a box of matzah when I was at the only nearby supermarket that I know carries Jewish food, but that was as far as I’d gotten.

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Oh Holy Night

rosh-hashana-can“L’Shana Tova!,” my relatives and friends are saying as they greet each other tonight.  “Happy New Year! And,” some add, “may you be inscribed.” The whole expression is, “May you be inscribed in the Book of Life,” but I suppose we’re just too busy around the Jewish High Holy Days getting the gefilte fish ready to have time to finish our sentences.

The Book of Life is a bit of a fuzzy concept for me… I’ve forgotten the orthodoxy about it that I was taught as a child (we were Reform Jews, not that kind of orthodoxy, but still…). What remains with me is the sense that during these “Days of Awe,” we are given an opportunity to reflect on how we are coming along on the road to our holiest purpose. Continue reading

Festival of Light

EB and I visited Manhattan seventeen Decembers ago as part of her tour of the East Coast academies where she was considering studying for her philosophiae doctor degree.  You’d think when we were looking for fun, it being near Christmas and all, we might have laced up some skates and headed over to Rockefeller Center, but this dog don’t skate.  Instead, we went to a Solstice Circle at an urban shaman’s house.  Continue reading