What? No more blogging?
I wrote about all my Shabbat meals in 2011. Other people wrote about theirs in 2012. At the end of 2012, I decided to call it quits while it was still fun and before people got sick of my antics. I also started writing Miriam’s Advice Well, an advice column for the Jewish Exponent, so that filled my minimum weekly requirement of telling the world (or at least the Philadelphia Jewish community) what I think. The rest of the FAQ below deals with why I started the project and why I continued the project, and even two years after I wrote it, it’s fun to read over, so I’m leaving it here as is. New posts there aren’t, but I hope you’ll go back through and read over what’s here, make some of the recipes, and find new and enjoyable ways to celebrate Shabbat.
What’s the deal with the title?
Shabbat happens for 25 hours a week, 52 weeks a year. I like “25×52” because it’s a palindrome. And the word “Shabbat” is going to appear enough in the posts; it didn’t need to be in the title, too. You can say “25 times 52,” or “25 by 52,” or something else if you like; I won’t be picky.
I thought this was a year-long project. What gives?
This was my year-long project, but at the end of 2011, fans of the blog (namely, my friends), helped come up with a way for it to continue with a new format. I am super proud that I reached my goal of blogging all my meals for 2011, and in 2012, other people are going to write about their Shabbat experiences.
I want to write about Shabbat and receive the fame and glory associated with this blog. How do I do it?
You sign up for a week here! And just to preempt some other likely FAQs, you don’t need to live in Philly, you don’t need to host me or anyone else on the week that you write about, you don’t necessarily need to be Jewish if you have something to say about Shabbat, and you don’t have to be a good cook. You do need to stick to my guidelines, and it helps if you’re a nice person.
Why did you start this blog?
A lot of my Shabbat meals have been really memorable, but without a formal way to document them, it’s too easy to forget what happens every week, who was there, and what we ate. I know someone who prints out a menu and guest list for every meal she hosts, so I’ll consider myself inspired by that model. Also, in 2011, I turned 30 and had a baby, so it seemed like an especially momentous year to document.
What’s happening in Philly this Shabbat?
I get asked this every week, sometimes upwards of a dozen times. On the one hand, that’s great, because it means that people are looking for Shabbat community. On the other hand, it means that a lot of people don’t know where to look, or don’t realize that if they don’t know what’s happening, they could make something happen!
For one thing, check the Grad Network website to see if we have a dinner or are advertising someone else’s. For another, email your friends and round up a last-minute potluck. Even if half your guests bring hummus and the other half brings dessert, you’ll still have a good time.
Can I really come over to your place for a meal?
Absolutely! But give me some notice because even though I host a lot, I don’t host every week, and I’d hate for you to be standing out in the cold (or heat, depending on when in my year of blogging you’re reading this). And, see above, because even if I’m not hosting, or even if I can’t help you find a meal to go to, I am hoping this blog will inspire people to host their own meals!
I’d like to host a Shabbat meal, but I don’t know how/my apartment isn’t kosher/I don’t have any chairs/silverware/recipes.
It’s ok, you can do it! I am happy to answer questions about the specifics of how to host, and I’ll be sharing recipes, but I also want to emphasize that a Shabbat meal can be as simple as having some friends over on a Friday night. You can host without knowing the prayers or being a gourmet cook. Plasticware is fine, but if you’re old enough to have a computer on which to read a blog, get yourself some silverware.
Can you introduce me to a nice Jewish guy/girl?
Well, I can try. If you’re in Philly, check out GradMatch, the Grad Network’s matchmaking website. If you’re not in Philly, I’m happy to try to offer advice, but my expertise in the singles market barely even goes into Jersey.
I’m not religious, so Shabbat isn’t important to me. Should I still read your blog?
Yes! “Religious” means a lot of different things to different people, and no single definition needs to dictate how you live and celebrate. You can find a way to make Shabbat part of your life even if that doesn’t mean abstaining from electricity for 25 hours. I once suggested to a grad student who had to work on Shabbat that he try wearing his favorite pair of shoes to work on Saturday to see if that made the day feel special. Even if you can’t commit to 25 hours, 1×52 is also a reasonable goal. Find something that works for you. If you’re not Jewish, hopefully there will be something here for you, too. I encourage you to check out the Sabbath Manifesto for another take on bringing rest into our hectic lives.
Is this a vegetarian blog?
You may be used to the traditional Shabbat fare of chicken or brisket, and while that’s great, there are lots of other delicious options! Some of my favorites are macaroni and cheese (with sweet potatoes – that recipe will be posted eventually), vegetarian chili or cholent, enchilada lasagna, and a “salad bar” with tons of different toppings. Yum! While my pregnancy has caused me to explore the world of meat after a 15+ year hiatus, as long as I’m cooking, for now it will be a dairy meal.
What about seudah shlishit?
You might start to notice that I’m really only writing about Shabbat dinners (on Friday nights) and Shabbat lunches (Saturday afternoons). A part of lots of people’s Shabbat practice includes seudah shlishit, “the third meal,” but that’s not such a part of my life, though, so I’m writing about what I know and not trying to introduce something else into my practice for the purpose of the blog. I do like to eat, though, so we’ll see.
This is a lot of FAQ for a new blog, what gives?
Meta questions are my favorite! Some of these are questions I get asked a lot at work, and some are questions I imagine people will ask about this blog. Feel free to send me real questions, though, and I’ll do my best to answer them.
Another blogging Steinberg?
My brother is a full-time professional blogger. Whatever tangential connection there may between this blog and my work, I’m still an amateur. But if you’re a sports fan, definitely check out the DC Sports Bog.
How often are you going to post things?
My plan is, at a minimum, to write after Shabbat ends each week. If something exciting or relevant is happening, or if I’m so excited while I’m preparing for Shabbat that I have write pre-sundown, then I’ll do that, too. If you subscribe, I think that means you’ll find out when I write something new.
I’m annoyed about something in Philly/the Jewish community/my family. Is this a good place for my complaints?
No thanks! If you have productive suggestions or constructive criticism about the young adult Jewish community in Philly, I’m happy to discuss, and I’m really excited about getting comments and dialogue related to the blog. But if you just want to complain, there are plenty of other online forums for that!