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Eliana



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PostSubject: How do you Shabbat?   Wed Sep 14, 2011 10:45 pm

I have been shul shopping since moving to Napa. I attended the reform synagogue, then a modern orthodox one, and last week a conservative shul. I have met people that have very different ideas about what is good and bad to do on Shabbat to really stay in the best spirit. So, how do you observe Shabbat?
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Bee

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PostSubject: Re: How do you Shabbat?   Tue Sep 20, 2011 2:51 am

Napa Valley? There is a great Judaica in Berkeley, Rabbi Heim can maybe direct you to some books or shuls.
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Dena

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PostSubject: Re: How do you Shabbat?   Tue Sep 20, 2011 10:50 am

My current Shabbat observance and my ideal are two totally different things. I'm working on it but it's going to be years and years before I get there and I'm not even sure how I will get there. I try to balance Shabbat with what I feel I need to do and with my husbands/families needs. The first is what is is but the later probably needs to be reevaluated. There are probably more things to which I could just say "No" to instead of caving in and going to events on Friday night or Saturday afternoon.

I prefer to get the house all in order and everything mostly clean. I make dinner but I don't make an elaborate dinner with while tablecloth and all that jazz. It's just two of us and usually I make something relatively simple. I light my Shabbat candles and we usually watch a movie together or something. I am a night owl so after he goes to sleep I read a book. It always seems like my brain is more clear and able to comprehend on Shabbat. Probably because I am focused and not thinking about what else I could be doing.

On Saturday I either go to Shabbat morning services and Torah study or sleep very late. If it's the first I generally will take a nap when I get home. My husband is often gone on Saturdays so I'm pretty much here reading, watching an educational program (Yes, I turn on the television. Not because I think it's perfectly fine but because I just do. That may sound totally odd.) OR visiting with family. For example, a few weeks ago I went to services on Friday instead of Saturday then went to see my Grandmother in her nursing home and my mom who recently had surgery. I did have to drive. It would be great if they lived within walking distance but they actually live an hour away by car.

Ideally, I would like to live close to shul so I wouldn't have to drive to services. I would also like people to quit asking me to do things like go out to restaurants on Shabbat. I have a difficult time saying no to those when it's a special occasional (like a high school reunion or a family members birthday). It would also be nice to live next to other Jews so I don't feel like I'm all alone and bored. Yes, I admit I can get bored. It's just me here and maybe my husband but he's not Jewish and doesn't observe Shabbat. As of now my neighborhood is not so great and I don't know my neighbors very well.

I need to learn to use my crockpot more so that I don't end up eating nothing but cold food on Saturday. It's fine in the summer. Preferable actually but once it gets colder the last thing I usually want is cold food all day! If my husband made me something I guess I could eat it but he doesn't cook much. He can scramble eggs or dump some organic soup into a pot and heat it up. Seems wrong of me to ask but if he just did it for me that wouldn't be a problem. Sometimes he'll bring me some french fries from a place he knows it gluten free and doesn't let their fries touch oil that was used with meat. But like I said, it's also not uncommon for him to be out with one of his hobbies on Saturdays.

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mikedoyleblogger

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PostSubject: Re: How do you Shabbat?   Wed Oct 12, 2011 4:49 pm

I attend a Reform shul, but I'm increasingly traditional in my observance. My boyfriend, Ryan (who is on his own conversion journey), and I try to get home in time to light candles, do kiddush, and eat before going to synagogue on Friday evening. We set the table for the holiday, with shabbat candles, wine, challah, etc. usually, we eat Trader Joe's hors d'oeuvres as dinner. (We try and buy commercially hekshered food and we avoid treif, but we don't buy kosher meat and we do mix milk and meat.)

Then we drive or take the bus to and from synagogue (about seven miles up the lakefront.) We almost never miss Friday services. Sometimes we attend services on Saturday morning, sometimes we don't. (Sometimes I attend alone.)

We do not work or talk about work on Shabbat. Ever. As best we can, we also don't write lists (oh, how writing lists can pull you right out of Shabbat), go shopping, mindlessly surf the Internet, or attend to chores on Shabbat.

We will, however, drive, cook, and take notes on Shabbat. Usually we read (lots of Judaica), visit museums, or go on local walks for Shabbat. We'll also travel beyond our neighborhood or across the region on Saturday for leisure pursuits. Our rule of thumb is if it gladdens our hearts, deepens our Yiddishkeit, or refreshes our bodies and souls, it's a permitted Shabbat activity for us, and we both look forward to Shabbat all week long.

Although our occasional Saturday trips to Six Flags Great America probably push the envelope in that regard. In my defense, my kippah only leaves my head on rides and goes right back on Wink and Smile
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Dena

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PostSubject: Re: How do you Shabbat?   Wed Oct 12, 2011 6:09 pm

So you do wear your kippah to Six Flags on Shabbat? I hope that question doesn't sound rude but I am curious.
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mikedoyleblogger

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PostSubject: Re: How do you Shabbat?   Wed Oct 12, 2011 6:16 pm

Dena, not at all. My personal minhag is to wear a kippah at all times. So, Six Flags or anywhere else, I wear one. I am the only member of my Reform synagogue to do so, but everyone respects my choice.

Part of the reason is that it helps me remember that no moment of life is truly secular--Shechinah is always behind the merely apparent world. Part of the reason is my last name is Doyle, and I don't ever want to get introduced to someone and have them assume I am not a Jew. I feel like that erases a Jew from the world. So part of it is a duty thing for me, too.
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Mychal

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PostSubject: Re: How do you Shabbat?   Wed Oct 12, 2011 6:26 pm

I'm with Dena: what I do on Shabbat and what I would like to do (or, rather, not do) are two different things.

I keep thinking about Judaism as a marathon. You don't up and run a marathon one day on a whim; you have to train for it. If you've never done any level of Shabbat observance, you can't just do it all at once; it will be stressful and not the happy, restful day it ought to be. You have to change your entire mindset about how days work and what work is.

So, I'm doing some different things occasionally and trying to change my thinking. Even if I turn the lights off and on, I'm trying to be more aware of the fact that I'm doing it--that I'm choosing to do it, rather than it be an unconscious habit.

For me, guilt is the great motivating factor. There eventually comes a point that I'm so aware of something being legal or not legal, and I feel so gulity about choosing to do it, I quit doing it. (Btw, I didn't eat any shellfish at the Chinese restaurant the other night, and I felt proud of myself! Not saying shellfish won't happen in the future--because I LOVE eating it--but guilt is starting to make me turn away from it.)

How far you eventually go is up to you and what you feel is right. God doesn't measure you against other people, but against yourself. What are you capable of doing and what do you actually do?
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Dena

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PostSubject: Re: How do you Shabbat?   Wed Oct 12, 2011 7:44 pm

I guess I am particular. If I wore a kippah but went to a place that required spending money on Shabbat I wouldn't wear it. I spent money on Rosh Hashanah evening and I took my kippah off to do so. I shouldn't have even done it (spent the money), I felt guilty, so lesson learned.

Basically if I am driving, purchasing, etc on Shabbat I don't want to advertise that I'm a Jew. I feel weird just buying non-kosher meat at the same time as kosher meat (the non-kosher is lunch meat, it goes only on paper plates, does not touch any utensils and is not eaten by me). Now of course, I bet people at the store don't even know the difference. They don't think about whether it's Shabbat or Rosh Hashanah, or whether Jews buy chocolate on Saturday afternoons. Wink and Smile It's just that I know the difference.

I hope I'm not sounding offensive. Not my intention, of course.
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Mychal

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PostSubject: Re: How do you Shabbat?   Thu Oct 13, 2011 1:38 pm

LOL, Dena. I've found myself wearing my Star of David necklace while buying my husband pork products and thinking, "Lord, I hope no one notices," LOL. Not that I know who would say anything; plenty of people at the Reform synagogue eat pork.
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mikedoyleblogger

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PostSubject: Re: How do you Shabbat?   Thu Oct 13, 2011 1:57 pm

Mychal & Dena, I go through that, too. I struggle with wearing my kippah at moments when I feel like a "bad Jew" for doing something less than halachic. But I always figure, I can't hide from the Eternal, so why hide my Jewishness from my fellow humans at such moments? It's part of me seeing my Jewishness as an unending work in progress. If struggles and questioning like this weren't there, I'd feel like something was wrong--oddly enough!
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John S

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PostSubject: Re: How do you Shabbat?   Tue May 14, 2013 12:55 am

Wow- an old thread I'm resurrecting, but a Shabbat question needs asking!

As I'm working to increase observances into my daily life (a sort of pre-school for myself in Judaism) I'm asking myself: just how DO I 'do Shabbat' at this point? I know I'm not required to, but for future reference I'm trying to sort it all out.

The thing is, I work M-F 3-11 at a local hospital, and there's little to no wiggle room in my department's scheduling, which means for the present I'm at work when Shabbat comes in on Friday evenings. When I get to the point of being 'officially' responsible for proper observance, what are my options short of finding a new job?

Is there any particular 'ruling' on beginning Shabbat while still on the job? Or do I just get home AS FAST AS POSSIBLE and light my candles then and begin everything, while observing Shabbat (at least in spirit) beforehand? Or do I not go for the candles and just begin my observance as early as I can?

Can I light candles (electric, obviously) at work at the proper time, do the blessings, and still be considered 'legal'?

AUGGH so much to learn and figure out, and I haven't even really started yet! LOL!
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mikedoyleblogger

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PostSubject: Re: How do you Shabbat?   Tue May 14, 2013 1:01 am

It really depends on what you want to do. Yes, you could find a new job that would allow you to go to synagogue on Friday night and light candles (etc.) as the sun goes down. That is my path. But for a lot of people it isn't feasible. And if it isn't feasible for you, you can always light when you get home (if you feel it appropriate to light after sundown--I've definitely done it before), and you can definitely always go to synagogue on Shabbat morning. It varies by denomination, but some people prefer to go to synagogue on Friday night, some Saturday morning, and some both. So you don't have to feel like you can't be a "good Jew" just because your job won't let you off to go to Friday night services :-)

Yes, you can light candles at work, though you would still be at work. But the thing to realize is that no Jew is perfect. No one is perfect, and no one's level of Jewish observance is perfect. Moreover, the mitzvot (as I and some others see them at least) are mutually cumulative in a positive sense, but not in a negative sense. Points aren't removed, so to speak, for not keeping the mitzvot (because we aren't perfect beings), but it makes a positive difference to keep those that we choose to keep--or are able to keep. So if you're doing your best to keep the ones that you are able to keep, that is a good thing.

I hope this helps.
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James

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PostSubject: Re: How do you Shabbat?   Tue May 14, 2013 9:18 am

Dena wrote:
So you do wear your kippah to Six Flags on Shabbat? I hope that question doesn't sound rude but I am curious.

I'm another one who wears my kippah always, but I'll switch it for a ball cap if I'm out on Shabbat or at a treif restaurant (which is all of them in my area). My wife, who is not Jewish, likes to take me out for lunch after Shabbat service; it's our time to spend together without the kids. She drives and pays, but I'm always mindful of how it looks to everyone else.
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John S

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PostSubject: Re: How do you Shabbat?   Thu May 16, 2013 6:05 pm

mikedoyleblogger wrote:
It really depends on what you want to do. Yes, you could find a new job that would allow you to go to synagogue on Friday night and light candles (etc.) as the sun goes down. That is my path. But for a lot of people it isn't feasible. And if it isn't feasible for you, you can always light when you get home (if you feel it appropriate to light after sundown--I've definitely done it before), and you can definitely always go to synagogue on Shabbat morning. It varies by denomination, but some people prefer to go to synagogue on Friday night, some Saturday morning, and some both. So you don't have to feel like you can't be a "good Jew" just because your job won't let you off to go to Friday night services :-)

Yes, you can light candles at work, though you would still be at work. But the thing to realize is that no Jew is perfect. No one is perfect, and no one's level of Jewish observance is perfect. Moreover, the mitzvot (as I and some others see them at least) are mutually cumulative in a positive sense, but not in a negative sense. Points aren't removed, so to speak, for not keeping the mitzvot (because we aren't perfect beings), but it makes a positive difference to keep those that we choose to keep--or are able to keep. So if you're doing your best to keep the ones that you are able to keep, that is a good thing.

I hope this helps.

Thank you so much- I wasn't sure if I was in for an 'all or nothing' approach to things, and wanted to get my ducks lined up ahead of time. In Islam (where I'm coming from) there's just certain things you can't do- or, if you do it wrong it "doesn't count"- so I wanted to get a better understanding as I learn. (I've been admonished- nicely- for making comparisons, but really other than Christianity of thirty-something years ago it's all I have to compare to for understanding.) Of course the goal is to get it right on time every time, but sometimes it seems life has an endless supply of monkey wrenches to throw into the best laid plans of mice and men Very Happy
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