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Dena

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PostSubject: How do you spend Shabbat?   Fri Feb 10, 2012 5:00 pm

What does a typical Shabbat look like for you/ and your family?
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maculated

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PostSubject: Re: How do you spend Shabbat?   Mon Feb 13, 2012 8:42 pm

In all honesty, we're really, really bored. :)
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Mychal

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PostSubject: Re: How do you spend Shabbat?   Tue Feb 14, 2012 12:36 pm

I would like for it to be a day without obligations--save going to synagogue.

But reality is that our house is a disaster and I can't get it clean in just one day--especially if we have to be somewhere on a Sunday.

So I invariably end up cleaning house on Saturday after shul (a little bit; more often than not, cleaning gets interrupted by the Shabbas nap). HOWEVER, significant improvement has recently been made, so my goal of doing nothing on Saturdays is beginning to look within reach.

I wish I had Friday off and worked Sundays. I'd rather have Friday to do my work and Saturday to relax, before going back to work. I do find it hard, when I take Saturday off, to get motivated on Sunday.
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Dena

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PostSubject: Re: How do you spend Shabbat?   Tue Feb 14, 2012 1:24 pm

maculated wrote:
In all honesty, we're really, really bored. :)

We're bored too and we still watch television (I don't think I'm going to be able to convince my husband not to watch movies on Friday nights or Saturdays). In the warmer months my is usually gone so he's not so bored but now while it's cold we're both bored.
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usuario



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PostSubject: Re: How do you spend Shabbat?   Tue Feb 14, 2012 3:54 pm

We watch TV and DVDs and go on the Internet, though I don't post messages on Shabbat. We also have a Shabbat nap then end with Havdalah whenever we remember to.
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Debbie B.

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PostSubject: Re: How do you spend Shabbat?   Tue Feb 14, 2012 6:22 pm

My family observes Shabbat in a traditional manner. Candle lighting, nice Friday night dinner with challah (usually freshly baked by my husband) with hand washing, kiddush, and Birkat Hamazon. Maybe singing of Shabbat songs if we have guests. Shabbat mornings we go to one of our lay-led minyanim and hang around for awhile at kiddush at our primary minyan. One deviation from a more traditional Orthodox Shabbat is that we don't usually make an effort to have prepared a hot Shabbat lunch unless we have guests. It is just a lot of work and planning to make two big meals in preparation for Shabbat. We're more likely to have a lunch of bagels and lox even if it is winter. However, we always make sure that on Shabbat we have hot water in an electric hot water pump pot, so we do have hot tea and coffee. See below for Shabbat afternoon activities. We observe Havdalah traditionally with candle, wine, and spices and the blessings.

We have stayed over Shabbat (Friday afternoon through Saturday night) with Orthodox friends, and it is pretty similar to what we usually do (especially when we have Saturday lunch guests) except for not turning lights on/off, and being more likely to sing a lot of Shabbat songs after the meal and before Birkat Hamazon.

One way that it shows that we aren't Orthodox is that we turn lights on and off on Shabbat. So one Shabbat when my husband was away, Orthodox friends who live less than a block away came by to chat, probably in part because they knew I was by myself with my kids. I offered them a hot drink since as I said, I always have my hot water pot on for Shabbat. They were telling me about their son's experiences in his gap year in Israel and when he was applying to college. As we talked, I noticed that the sun was going down, and I hadn't left lights on in my house because I wasn't expecting guests. I felt like it would be disturbing to them to go turn on a light, because they certainly don't do that on Shabbat. And Havdalah isn't until well past sunset. But we were enjoying the conversation, so that by the time they left, it was actually rather dark. I was kind of embarrassed and apologized saying "Well, you know that we are not a Shomer Shabbat household". But the wife surprised me by saying: "That's not true. You do observe Shabbat---just differently than we do."

I'm not bored on Shabbat even when we are not having people over or going to a friends home for Shabbat lunch. My life is usually so hectic that I savor the opportunity to relax with a cup of coffee and just read magazines or books. And I have more time than during the week to work on learning whatever Torah reading I'm preparing (I try to always have one I'm working on).

I find it liberating that on Shabbat I do not need feel guilty about "neglecting" any number of chores like laundry. And I don't have to nag my children about doing homework (although I do ask them if they have any reading assignments that they could be doing) or practicing their musical instruments. I like that I do not have to be watching the clock and rushing to pick up and drop off my kids at their various activities.

On Shabbat, I don't use my laptop (or iPad or iPhone) or watch movies on our tv (which isn't hooked up to cable). But I do allow my kids to use their iPods and computers because I didn't want to change the rules on them since we used to be more relaxed about that.

A favorite Shabbat activity for my family is probably one that would only appeal to "nerds" like us: my husband reads books out loud to the whole family. These are typically adult novels (often science fiction) that are 100's of pages long. He'll read for an hour or more and it will take many Shabbat afternoons to get through the whole book.

The teenaged son of the Orthodox friends I mentioned above used to drop by sometimes on Shabbat afternoon to see if my husband and daughter were up for playing some bridge. Sometimes when the weather is nice (which means not now) they will drop by our house to see if we want to go for a nice Shabbat walk around the neighborhood with them. When our kids were younger, we'd often stop for awhile at a park and let the kids play on the playground equipment.
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maculated

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PostSubject: Re: How do you spend Shabbat?   Tue Feb 14, 2012 8:52 pm

Your light delineation reminded me of growing up with my Orthodox cousin. She would stay with us occasionally and I had the grand honor of sharing a hotel room with her over Shabbat once (for my brother's wedding) and she DEMANDED that the TV be left on, and untouched. Killed me. I do not sleep well with that kind of light and noise. She also used us as Shabbas goyim so I don't know why I couldn't turn it off . . . probably experimenting with observance or something (I know the feeling.)

As much as I love reading, I also get really antsy about what I could be doing instead. The "forced" leisure has never sat well with me . . . we go for really long walks on Shabbat (like 20 miles) but after a while, that gets old, too. My husband and I decided after about two years of strict observance that we had to let up. That was one of the things that hurt about conversion, that the Orthodox influences said I could not convert until I was "ready" to adopt fully frum life. I am not sure that neither me nor my husband are wired for that, and I have a really hard time imagining my maker making my personality this way only to fight it. I am a much happier person now that we've decided to let Shabbat observance seep in without as much forcing. It's also much harder because we have really no community to pass the time with, unless we want to spend a lot of time with college kids over a Chabad. It's a balance.
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Dena

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PostSubject: Re: How do you spend Shabbat?   Tue Feb 14, 2012 9:37 pm

If I was super busy all the time I imagine I would be less bored and happy to just relax. We also live 20 minutes from the Jewish community by car and I don't have many Jewish friends (especially my own age). So, it's just us here. My husband is not the type who likes to sit still. He generally stays busy. For example next Saturday he's going to a National Park to do some repelling on Saturday. So I'll have to entertain myself. I know he wants to be with me on Shabbat but I bore him. Razz

Debbie, I thought about reading a book for both of us but I think that might get on his nerves. We have listened to books on DVD together but only in the car. Me trying to read a book to him might just be boring for him.

I was thinking maybe I need to invite people over on Friday. Not necessarily other Jewish people but maybe my mom one week, his Grandma another week, etc. I'd invite his sister since she only lives 4 miles away but she works 70 hours a week and doesn't have time. I feel like if we were around more people it would be easier. This is one of the reasons I would really like to move in the next few years.

The last couple years we've done some kayaking in the summer but it's not something I'm super comfortable with doing. It's been a compromise. It seems a bit silly I don't cook or use a computer but I'll get in the truck, ride to the lake, unload a kayak and paddle around for a few hours.

I also think once we have kids it would be nice. We can play games and that sort of thing. There aren't too many games that are amusing with just two people.
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Debbie B.

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PostSubject: Re: How do you spend Shabbat?   Tue Feb 14, 2012 10:21 pm

Dena wrote:

I was thinking maybe I need to invite people over on Friday. Not necessarily other Jewish people but maybe my mom one week, his Grandma another week, etc. I'd invite his sister since she only lives 4 miles away but she works 70 hours a week and doesn't have time. I feel like if we were around more people it would be easier. This is one of the reasons I would really like to move in the next few years.
I encourage you to invite friends and relatives who are not Jewish over for Friday dinner. Just for the company. I'm sure your guests would appreciate it: it's great to be invited for a meal regardless of religious aspects. And if you could find any day of the week that you sister-in-law could take a break for dinner or a weekend brunch, I would think that she would especially appreciate it just as a break from her crushing work week.

Dena wrote:

I also think once we have kids it would be nice. We can play games and that sort of thing. There aren't too many games that are amusing with just two people.
Actually, a lot of parents find it difficult to deal with enforcing Shabbat observance for their kids, particularly if the kids usually watch a lot of tv, play a lot of video games, and do a lot of activities forbidden on Shabbat. We have an Orthodox neighbor with a son just the same age as my son and who attended kindergarten with my son because of certain special needs even though he changed to an Orthodox day school after that year. His mother tried a few times to invite my son over to play on Shabbat because she said her son was really bored. Unfortunately, the two boys didn't have the same play style and the other boy would get tired of playing with my son in about 10 minutes and start asking when he was going home. I read that a surprising number of Orthodox parents allow their kids to use their cell phones for texting during Shabbat---which the kids call doing "half-Shabbos". The kids just can't deal with a text-free day and the parents don't want fight with their kids over it.

I agree that most of the fun, social games I know of are for more than two people or are best with more than two. I personally would not want to spend a whole afternoon playing chess, Go, Othello, even a game called Quatro which I like a lot for for maybe half and hour.

Would you and your husband enjoy watching a movie together on DVD? If so, in your situation, I'd consider relaxing Shabbat restrictions for the sake of "Shalom Bayit" to allow you to do something enjoyable together.
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Dena

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PostSubject: Re: How do you spend Shabbat?   Tue Feb 14, 2012 10:37 pm

Debbie B. wrote:

Would you and your husband enjoy watching a movie together on DVD? If so, in your situation, I'd consider relaxing Shabbat restrictions for the sake of "Shalom Bayit" to allow you to do something enjoyable together.

We do. He would go berserk (from bordem) if I wouldn't even watch movies with him. Razz
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Mychal

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PostSubject: Re: How do you spend Shabbat?   Wed Feb 15, 2012 3:05 pm

I think the most important thing about Shabbas observance is that you turn off the things that stress you. For most people--even teenagers--that's going to be computers, internet, Facebook, and telephones. While most of the time it may seem like fun to be on Facebook or to be texting friends constantly, there comes a time when even teenagers will realize that both involve a lot of drama too often, and it becomes stressful. Likewise, reading/listening to negative people too often will have a negative effect on your life.

I tend to think of Shabbas as a day when you shut out the world and spend some quality time with yourself. But maybe that's because I'm an introvert by nature.

But that kind of goes into why I've been cleaning, even though I would rather not on Shabbas. The mess in our house is so bad, it's constantly stressful for me. I can't enjoy Shabbat because I can't turn off that stress/mess. So I break a few Shabbatot to deal with the problem, so I can enjoy many future Shabbatot.
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Dena

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PostSubject: Re: How do you spend Shabbat?   Wed Feb 15, 2012 3:13 pm

Mychal wrote:
.

I tend to think of Shabbas as a day when you shut out the world and spend some quality time with yourself. But maybe that's because I'm an introvert by nature.

I spend the majority of my time alone since I don't work outside the home. I like being alone but I would like to be around people more often on Shabbat.

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Mychal

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PostSubject: Re: How do you spend Shabbat?   Wed Feb 15, 2012 4:53 pm

My conversion friend at shul works from home too, and he says that's what he likes most about Saturday--going to shul and getting to see people and talk to them (we always have a big lunch after service, so there's plenty of socializing time).
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Debbie B.

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PostSubject: Re: How do you spend Shabbat?   Wed Feb 15, 2012 5:25 pm

The social aspect is certainly a motivator for me to go to shul on Shabbat when I might feel like sleeping in. And obviously that is even more the case for the minyan members who don't even arrive at shul until well into Musaf---clearly they are coming mainly to shmooze at kiddush, since they don't get in much davening.

The classic joke goes something like:
Hymie says "Shlomo goes to shul to talk to God. I go to shul to talk to Shlomo."
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Debbie B.

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PostSubject: Re: How do you spend Shabbat?   Thu Feb 16, 2012 10:42 pm

I've been listening to a very interesting (and non-technical, so very accessible) Mechon Hadar recording of a discussion about Shabbat:
"The Gift of Rest: Rediscovering the Beauty of the Sabbath" A Conversation with Senator Joseph Lieberman and Rabbi Ethan Tucker
"Senator Lieberman's recent book, The Gift of Rest, will serve as the centerpiece of our conversation, which will weave together political anecdotes and thoughtful consideration of rabbinic halakhah and aggadah about Shabbat. What is the role of Shabbat in the contemporary world? How can rigorous Jewish observance integrate into public life? When conflicts arise surrounding Shabbat observance, how can we deal with them?"
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