A new summer initiative from the SJC leadership is Shabbat in the Home. Gathering for a Friday night dinner, Saturday lunch or traditional Se’udah Shlishit (third meal in the late Saturday afternoon/early evening) to enjoy a lovely shabbat meal with a schmooze and maybe a game. A time to connect with established and new members a like.
Shabbat in the home will be coordinated through the Activity Manager to provide an easy and enjoyable experience for the host and participants. To begin, SJC members will be grouped into general geographic neighborhoods and we will then contact individuals to participate in these cooperative potluck style gatherings. If you would like to be a host or have questions, contact Shmuel (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Now, for those who like a little more I offer this bit of background thinking. For the highly influential pre-state Zionist and founder of Cultural Zionism Ahad Ha’am (אחד העם), Shabbat was one of the primary methods of maintaining Jewish identity, along with the Hebrew language and a connection with the land of Israel. It was Ha’am who gave us the axiom “More than the Jews have kept Shabbat, Shabbat has kept the Jews.” This is not a form of magical thinking or superstitious clap-trap but rather a critical assessment of an activity which is central to Jewish life for, essentially, as long as there has been Jewish life. Shabbat is THE cultural cornerstone of Jewish continuity.
Shabbat, as much as it serves the collective whole, benefits the individual. The individual person, family, and community. A joyous time and an opportunity to step back and revel in the now. This time is demarcated in a set manner which gives the occasion distinction. The Society for Humanistic Judaism expresses this context as allowing “opportunities for both home and community celebrations, featuring candle lighting, wine, and the eating of braided bread (challa), with blessings that express human power and responsibility.”