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Tag : Shabbat

The Lilith Blog

April 30, 2020 by

What Carrying the Torah Taught Me About Faith

My daughter’s bat mitzvah took place on Purim, March 10, right as the country was introduced to social distancing and mere days before we were encouraged to stay home. The weekend before, my family went to shul together for Shabbat services. My son has been volunteering as a bimah boy since his bar mitzvah last year, so he’s there regularly with my husband, but my daughter and I often stay home.

Being in shul fills me with conflicting emotions. I love the community, the warmth, and the sense of connection amongst a group of people that large. But I have issues with some of the actual tenets of the religion itself, and a very uncertain relationship with G-d. It’s my love for the clergy and fellow congregants that keep me coming back. I spend my time there in reflection upon myself, my actions, and how I can be better in the future. I rarely follow along in the Siddur, feeling those words so separate from my own.

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The Lilith Blog

March 27, 2020 by

In Italy, Our Lockdown Continues

thumb_IMG_3392_1024MILAN, March 2020—Today the news announced that the Carabinieri, the Italian military police, would be patrolling the streets and giving fines to anyone who didn’t have an essential reason to be out.

They also announced that grocery stores, the only businesses still open besides pharmacies, would be limiting their hours, so I decided that I should go out and get more food while I still could. Since we don’t have a car, I asked my teenage daughter to come so that she could help me carry everything back. She gladly accepted, since the three weeks of lockdown in a 390 square-foot apartment have proven to be quite a strain on our family dynamics. With our masks in hand, we left our apartment and walked onto the eerily empty street. It was a glorious spring day in Milan, trees full of colorful blossoms, a gentle breeze, birds chirping, and – just for a moment – everything felt normal.

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The Lilith Blog

April 16, 2019 by

A Secular Feminist Embraces Shabbat

The first time I observed Shabbat according to the laws of the Torah, it snowed in the desert.

There was a certain degree of irony there—that hell had frozen over, and now I was celebrating the Sabbath in the home of an Orthodox friend. 

I was anxious in the hours leading up to sundown, watching large, wet snowflakes blanket the cactus in my front yard. It was the kind of anxiety that comes with imposter syndrome—all my Jewish celebrations had thus far involved a wide margin of error. My partner and I didn’t worry much about saying all the right prayers in the right order, because our practices were secular expressions of our shared culture, not an expression of religious devotion.

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April 2, 2019 by

This Jewish School Tradition Needs to Change

I’m embarrassed to admit that I didn’t see the problem with the Imma (mother) and Abba (father) of the classroom Shabbat ritual until a friend pointed it out.

The opposite, honestly: when my three kids came home from school on Fridays, I eagerly asked who in their classes was given that honor. I love it too. Or I did, until I realized that not every kid has an Imma and an Abba. And that  not every kid will be an Imma or an Abba, or be an Imma in partnership with an Abba.

The problem is twofold: the modeling of an “ideal” two-parent family along strict gender and heteronormative lines, and the concept that ritual observance must be structured around the nuclear family. Language needs to change, and the roles need to change, because our community has already changed. We need to signal inclusivity and acceptance. Kids of all circumstances should see their families reflected in the way that we model our sacred moments.

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The Lilith Blog

January 22, 2019 by

This Jewish School Tradition Needs to Change.

I’m embarrassed to admit that I didn’t see the problem with the Imma (mother) and Abba (father) of the classroom Shabbat ritual until a friend pointed it out. The opposite, honestly: when my three kids came home from school on Fridays, I eagerly asked who in their classes was given that honor. I made a big deal of it, especially when it was their turn. Because it is kind of a big deal: in kindergarten and first grade, every week one boy and one girl get to make the blessings over the candles, grape juice, and challah. They are given a sticker. They get to show off their knowledge. They love it.

I love it too. Or I did, until I realized that not every kid has an Imma and an Abba. And that not every kid will be an Imma or an Abba, or be an Imma in partnership with an Abba. And that, really, no little kid should be inhabiting the role of an Imma or an Abba.

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July 15, 2014 by

The Shabbat Before Her Wedding

She is the braid of the challah
twisted between second grade bible stories
and the breath of modern Israel. She is turning
off the oven, placing trays of sliced meat
and bowls of sectioned fruit onto the lazy Susan.
She is the candle that has not yet been lit,
the matches on the ledge behind the sink
waiting to be taken, to be brushed along
the coarse striking surface, a wavering flame.
She remembers the dozens of times she opened
the front door to the smells of the rabbi’s Shabbat
during college, the homecoming of flavors
that committed her to kosher.
Her fiancé in the bedroom now
tries to memorize the blessings, the transliteration,
figuring out how the mixing of their blood
will work for the unborn children.
She is the heat of the kitchen after the steam
of her food has slowed, the shadow of her grandmother
setting silverware on linen napkins, her hand
miming the pride of Jewish women. 

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