Shabbat starts and ends really early these days. We’re talking 4:18 on Friday afternoon and, by my imprecise calculations, 5:18-ish on Saturday. That means Friday afternoons in the winter are typically a flurry of crazy until candlelighting, and then a drawn-out haze until dinner. But this week, even with a big work event, everything got done on time, and I didn’t have the panic. I didn’t miss it, exactly, but I also felt like that must mean I was doing something wrong.
But no, it was just a super smooth afternoon sliding right into Shabbat. Ahhh.
And then, Friday night, another really amazing thing happened: the Grad Network held its first ever Kabbalat Shabbat services. And people came. A lot of people. We were hoping for a minyan (a minimum of 10 adults), and ended up with 38. It’s a real testament to a lot of things I’m really proud of that this happened and that I had almost nothing to do with organizing it.
And, services being followed by fleishig (meat) Chinese food didn’t hurt matters either. Though I am still a reluctant and somewhat embarrassed meat eater, the food was just really seriously good, and hard enough to come by in Philly that some people showed up for the food and were, I think, pleasantly surprised by the caliber of the company. The vegetarians, though, to be fair, probably showed up for the company and made do with the food. Next time we’ll make sure there’s tofu.
Saturday afternoon, Ilana hosted a bunch of Tikvah-affiliated folks to talk about the recent Hadar Minyan conference (am I even allowed to use the word ‘affiliated’ in this context?!). Since Marc and I didn’t go to the conference this year, it was great to hear reports from others who were there. And Ilana made awesome crockpot chili. And I had my first peppermint Jo-Jo of the season.
The other part of dessert was a concoction Marc dubbed “yo-milk surprise.” Special shout-out to Williams-Sonoma for replacing our ice cream maker with no questions asked! I wasn’t around for the ice cream making, but I hear it went something like this: the corner store didn’t have cream, so milk and yogurt went into the ice cream maker along with m&m’s that then lost their color, turning the whole slurry the color of hospital walls, which Marc then tried to improve with food coloring. It tasted surprisingly good, but I’m not sure it’s a recipe we would try to recreate on purpose.
At lunch, Josh, the most calendrically-minded person I know, helpfully pointed out that 2011 is one of those years where there are actually 53 Shabbats, making the title of this whole deal, well…. That just means I have four more weeks to go, instead of three.
And after that, dear readers, it’s your turn! You’re all invited to be part of 25x52x2, that is, the next year of this project. I hoped all along that this blog would inspire people to host Shabbat meals of their own, and I’m really hoping that if you sign up to write about your Shabbat experiences for a week, that will provide both an inspiration and a pretty direct motivation. You certainly don’t have to host to write, but it’s something to think about.
Here’s what I’m asking:
Click here to access the google doc where I’m keeping track of next year’s Shabbat dates (52 of them, ha!). Write your name next to one of them. When that week comes…
1) Write about your Shabbat experience in 300-700 words.
2) Include a recipe.
3) Include a photograph of food or something else related to the experience.
4) Refer to people by first-name only, and try to ask their permission first.
5) Send me your piece by 10:00 p.m. Sunday night for posting.
a) You don’t have to live in Philly to be part of this.
b) You don’t have to invite me to your meal(s).
c) But you can if you want. I’m a fun guest. And I come with a good-looking entourage.
d) You don’t have to be observant in any way as long as you have something to say about Shabbat. And food.
e) I want there to be a way for non-Jews to write, too, so I’m open to ideas.
f) Check out the Sabbath Manifesto for inspiration. Also, I just started reading “The Sabbath World,” and my overwhelming emotion so far is that I wish I’d written this book.
g) I will plan to fill in on weeks when no one signs up, but I want to limit how often that happens.
h) So sign up. Tell your friends and other interesting people you know to sign up. It’s going to be a Shabbat blogging blogosphere. Maybe we’ll meet each other and expand who we invite to our Shabbat tables. Maybe we’ll have a big party next New Year’s with everyone who contributed. Maybe I’ll learn a recipe that will change everything. Maybe other awesome stuff will happen.
This is not the last you’ll be hearing about this. You’ve been warned. And invited. And with that, a picture of Aliza swinging at the playground for the first time. (No, there’s no picture of the yo-milk surprise. You’ll have to use your imagination for that one.)