Shabbat Shalom
B'har-B'chukotai |27 Iyar 5775
Lev. 25:1-38 | Jeremiah 16:19-17:14 
This Shabbat, Shelli Patt shares
Jewish Time


I grew up in a Shabbat-observant home. On Friday nights, we lit candles, said Kiddush and Motzi (blessings over the wine and bread), and had a family Shabbat dinner together. On Saturdays we refrained from participating in regular, secular activities. Work, school events, volunteer commitments, meetings, girls scouts, even birthday parties were not things that my family did on Shabbat or holidays.   Even though for much of my childhood we only attended Shabbat services sporadically, for my parents, Shabbat was a time to be carved out and separated away from the events and commitments of everyday life. My parents didn't view Shabbat as a spiritual experience or a religious obligation, but saw it as a political statement about what it means to be a Jew in the United States. In an American secular society ruled by the Christian calendar and by Christian time, they felt the importance of demanding respect for the Jewish calendar, and for Jewish time, as is our right in a secular country that protects freedom of religion. In the U.S., Saturday is the default leisure day, because the majority of people reserve Sunday for their religious observance and family time. My parents sought to reclaim Saturday as our time, as Jewish time when Jews should not be expected to go to work, school, meetings, or even social events, any more than Christians would be expected to do these things on a Sunday.


As a child, I didn't understand my parents' point of view about Shabbat, but as I got older, I started to incorporate Shabbat observance more into my own life. In college, whatever social plans I had on Fridays came to a complete stop so I could go to weekly Kabbalat Shabbat services and Shabbat dinner at Hillel on Friday nights. As young adults living in Lakeview, Andy and I often spent the entirety of Shabbat, from sundown Friday to sundown Saturday in synagogue and at friends' homes, savoring the experience of being surrounded by "Jewish time."


And now, raising our own children, we strive to carve out as much Shabbat as possible to be our own Jewish time, whether it's setting aside competing social plans to make sure we have Shabbat dinner together on Friday night, or not scheduling activities that would keep us from coming to services at Beth Emet on Saturday morning.


The system isn't perfect, because we do live in a secular world that makes demands on our time, according to a calendar and clock that is not our own. But each week we have an opportunity to take control of our own time, and say that this week, Shabbat will be Jewish Time, and that as much as possible, that time will be our own.


Shelli Patt is an early childhood teacher at Beth Emet. She lives in Skokie with her husband Andy, sons Josh and Roni, and cats Luke and Leia.

Each Friday during 5775, we are featuring writings from you, our congregants, sharing reflections on Shabbat. We hope you will be inspired to share your reflections with the community. If you are interested in contributing to this project, please contact Stacey Zisook Robinson
This Shabbat at Beth Emet

Friday, May 15
6:30 p.m. BESSY Kabbalat Shabbat Service in the Sanctuary. Beth Emet's peer-led group hosts a special serviced filled with music and reflection.

Saturday, May 16
9:00 a.m.  Tot Shabbat and Kiddush in Weiner Room.

9:30 a.m.   Kahal in the Weiner Room with Torah Reader Robert Render and Torah Discussion Leader Betsy Fuchs.

:30 a.m.  
Shabbat Minyan in Room 208 
10:30 a.m.  Jaydn Denlow and Anna Wittcoff B'not Mitzvah in the Sanctuary
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