Shabbat Shalom
D'varim-Chazon | 9 Av 5775
Deuteronomy 1:1-2:1 | Isaiah 1:1-27
This Shabbat, Sara Blumenthal shares 
Walking into Shabbat's Presence

I walk out onto HaRakevet Street just as the sun hangs low in the Jerusalem sky and shines its ethereal light onto the sand-colored stone. I love catching the sun in this spot right before the arrival of Shabbat. It's a scene so serene I want to document it - knowing that only a moment of mindfulness can capture its emotive power. I take that second to breathe in the fresh air and begin my walk to a nearby Kabbalat Shabbat service. 


This recent memory from when I lived in Jerusalem chronicles my favorite act of the week - a time when the boundary between doing and being, shavua (week) and shabbat, fades into the sunset. Over the years, during my summers at camp and semesters in college, I embarked on many walks to Kabbalat Shabbat. These short, familiar strollsgave me the time and space to make sense of my week and gradually settle into the hours I love most. Whether I had sprinted over (especially if I was leading that week) or took a leisurely walk, once I heard the sweet melodies of the mystical prayers, I had arrived. So had she, the Shabbat bride. 


I began bringing in Shabbat at a young age around the candle-lit table with my family. I have since attended numerous Shabbat dinners and hosted several in Jerusalem apartments. Sometimes I make challah, an activity I relish when I have time for it. While celebrating Shabbat in some way is my norm, there have been days and periods during which I did not have the ability to welcome Shabbat in my usual way or simply do not connect to its message of sanctity and specialness that week. Yet, with the setting of the sun, sure enough it is there should I make space in my life and soul to embrace it. 

I take comfort in Shabbat's assured arrival, coming whether or not we choose to acknowledge its presence. In this way I believe Shabbat is Judaism's greatest gift to us and to the world. It is a built-in pause button for our constant lives in play. This weekly time for rest and reflection gives us a taste of shalom, peace, and shlemut, wholeness, when quality time with loved ones, words from our tradition, and delicious food are all that we need to complete our week. When we wish each other Shabbat Shalom, a Shabbat of peace, we impart the potential of the holiness and wholeness of Shabbat onto one another and accept the wish in return. It is a brief yet moving prayer of hope for leading meaningful Jewish lives and building a better world. 

May this be a Shabbat of reflection and connection for us all. 


Shabbat Shalom.


Sara Blumenthal grew up at Beth Emet attending Kahal Shabbat services and serving on the BESSY board. Sara graduated from the University of Michigan in 2014 with degrees in Psychology and Hebrew and Jewish Cultural Studies. She recently returned from a meaningful year of living and volunteering in Israel. Having relocated to the Chicago area, Sara is waiting  to embark on her next adventure. 

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, July 24
6:30 p.m. (5:45 p.m. reception) Kabbalat Shabbat in the Sanctuary. D'var Torah by Rabbi Andrea London.
Saturday, July 25
9:45 a.m.  Kahal Shabbat in the Weiner Room with Torah Reader 
Marc Blumenthal and Torah Discussion Leaders The Rosenberg Family.

9:30 a.m.  
 Shabbat Minyan in Room 208. 

8:00 p.m. Tisha b'Av Service in the Foyer

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