This past summer I was lucky enough to go to Israel with a group of women from Chicago and hundreds of women from around the country. All of them mothers. Our first night in Israel, after a beautiful sunset dinner in the north side of the country, we were told that the bodies of three missing Israeli teens had been found. Thus began a profoundly heartbreaking, yet incredibly meaningful trip.
The women I traveled with became true friends as we learned, mourned, and celebrated our culture and religion. It was one of the most important weeks of my life as I became more committed to my faith and to Israel and it’s people. Observant Jews celebrate the Sabbath beginning at sundown on Friday until sundown on Saturday. The Shabbat meal plays an important role (Jews and food, who knew!) in the beautiful tradition of the Shabbos and it was one of the best experiences on our trip.
Last night one of the leaders from our trip invited my family to her home for Shabbat dinner. There was homemade challah, matzo ball soup, roasted chicken and potatoes, a maple syrup cake for dessert and the absolute pleasure of being with her and her family. Whenever I am with one of the women from that trip I feel like I’m home. I’m with my people, my tribe, and my history.
When I arrived home from Israel I had committed to more family Shabbat dinners, and though I have done a few more than prior to the trip, not as many as I had wanted. Last night reminded me of the beauty of a day of rest, time with family, prayer, and contemplation, not to mention delicious food.