Shabbat Shalom
B'midbar |4 Iyar 5775
Num. 1:1-54 | Hosea 2:1-22
This Shabbat, Carol Vihon Hirsch shares
Learning to Find Why


Grandma lit her heavy candlesticks in the kitchen. As a little girl, I had no idea why she did this. We would visit grandma and grandpa in their Orthodox synagogue on the holidays. Grandma sat upstairs in the balcony, praying softly. Grandpa sat downstairs; I never saw him there. We celebrated Passover at my grandparents. Most of us didn't have a clue about the service.

A German Jewish woman helped to take care of me when I was a little girl. One day, she told my mother to send me to the Reform synagogue that she was active in, so that I could learn "why." Although my parents didn't go, my best friend and I took the bus to get there.

This was the place that I learned the answers to all those "whys."

I absorbed everything I was taught, like a sponge. I was lucky to have the rabbi as my teacher all through school there. He helped to develop my spiritual feelings for being a Jew. I learned about Israel from the Rabbi's wife, who was from Israel.

It wasn't until I was married and had children that I started observing Shabbat in a formal way. My husband and his family did not observe at all. I wanted something more. I started to go to Friday evening Shabbat services by myself. I also registered our children for religious school.

Soon after, my husband started to join us, and Shabbat became our family's joy.

Now I am one of the Friday night Shabbat "regulars," but I do have a dilemma in this Jewish life of mine: I find myself torn between observing Shabbat or going to a grandchild's activity that is scheduled for Friday night. I enjoy the services. Sometimes, I opt for enjoying my grandchild. If I'm at home - and now, "home" is usually just my husband, Roger, and myself - we say prayers together.

Shabbat continues to be our joy. But the grandchild Friday night activity continues to boggle my mind and soul and I'd love some feedback from others about this.


CAROL VIHON HIRSCH is 72. After becoming a mom to three children, she went back to school and earned her degree at 40. She has a Bachelor of Fine Arts in painting. She also learned how to run a manufacturing company with her husband. They live in Evanston and have been married 52 years. They have three married children and eight grandchildren.
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 22
6:30 p.m. Kabbalat Shabbat in the Sanctuary including welcoming
Nancy Grabowsky into the Jewish Community and a D'var Torah by 
Rabbi Andrea London.

Saturday, May 23
9:30 a.m.   Kahal in the Weiner Room with Torah Reader 
Rabbi Suzanne Griffel and Torah Discussion Leader Arthur Altman.

:30 a.m.  
Shabbat Minyan in Room 208 
10:30 a.m.  Ruthie Caro and Zoe Coleman B'not Mitzvah in the Sanctuary

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