Traditionally, the only thing that trumps Shabbat is saving a life. But, as I like to make tradition work for me, this weekend, celebrating a life took precedence over my typical Shabbat activities as we traveled to New Jersey for Marc’s grandfather’s 100th birthday party.
An oft-repeated Jewish wish for good fortune is “May you live to be 120,” since that’s how long Moses lived. When someone has already made it to 100, though, the expression feels kind of empty. It sounds more like, “your days are numbered,” than “live long and prosper.” But it was truly a happy day, and there’s no reason to let my own existentialism get in the way of that. And, like any good party, there was cake: goopy, sugary cake with tons of frosting, something I learned to love from my father, who insists that the green frosting has extra nutrients.
Before New Jersey, though, there was Friday night, and Marc and I had dinner, just the two of us, at home: turkey chili and homemade bread bowls, both of which Marc seems to have conjured out of thin air in our kitchen while I was at work. We sang Shalom Aleichem in our kitchen while the food was still on the stove, another not-quite-traditional way of celebrating Shabbat, but a really perfectly authentic way of being us and having a Jewish life together.