Shabbat has always been a huge part of my life. After all, it takes
up one seventh of each week. Moving to Israel at the age of 12,
Shabbat became an even more prominent part of my life. In Israel,
when Shabbat is coming, you feel it everywhere. The markets become
crowded with people doing last minute shopping. Schools end early on
Friday to accommodate students who keep Shabbat. Soldiers pack the
busses, on their way home to spend Shabbat with their families. The
whole atmosphere is festive. And I love it!
Lucky for me, the main theme of 2nd grade at BJEP is Shabbat. Though
this is my first year at Brandeis and at BJEP, teaching about
something I love every Sunday has, believe it or not, helped me deal
with my transition from a more spiritual to a more secular country and
environment. I felt this last week, in particular, with the Taste of
Shabbat program. The program consisted of arts and crafts related to
Shabbat, singing, and a mock Friday night seder, the ceremony done
before a festive dinner that consists of lighting candles and reciting
blessings over wine and bread.
The students first made paper flowers for bouquet centerpieces while
waiting for everyone to arrive. Once we were ready to begin, Dena
gave a short introduction to the program and read “Baxter, the Pig Who
Wanted to be Kosher,” a book about a pig who wants to be kosher in
order to enjoy Shabbat, but eventually realizes that everyone can
participate, no matter what. Next came the arts and crafts. The
students braided the own Challah, decorated Challah covers, and made a
small booklet containing the prayers we say on Shabbat. The Taste of
Shabbat program ended with the mock Shabbat seder. Students and their
families listened to a short explanation of the symbolic ideas behind
each step of the seder. Singing ensued as they lit Shabbat candles,
said Kiddush over the wine, and Hamotzi over the bread.
A wonderful time was had by all. I love that I was a part of that,
and I hope all the participants got a taste of why I love Shabbat, and
have a chance to bring it into their homes many times in the future.