Shabbat Shalom
B'Har-Bechucatai |24 Tammuz 5775
Num. 25:10-26:4 | Jeremiah 1:1-2:3
This Shabbat, Robert Render shares 
Shabbat in Jerusalem


I have been dutifully reading my fellow congregants' essays on Shabbat and they have been moving, funny, and most of all meaningful. There is such a wide range of experiences and backgrounds at Beth Emet, it is humbling to think about my own thoughts on Shabbat.


Growing up we belonged to a traditional congregation in Skokie. It was a bit left of orthodox and a bit right of conservative. We observed Shabbat with candle lighting, singing, Kiddush, and a special Shabbat meal. For me as a kid a few things stand out. On Friday nights, we got to drink pop (soda to you easterners) which was a real treat. We had these big bottles of seltzer and ginger ale delivered in big wood cases and these were brought out for Shabbat. The other was the way my mother and when either of my grandmothers were at dinner would cover their heads, light the candles, and wave their hands and arms as if to brush away the past week's ups and downs and then cover their faces while they silently recited their prayers. Then with a burst they would say "Gut Shabbos" to hugs and kisses. My dad would rise for the Kiddush singing a melody he created. Every time I hear that melody from him I wonder if it will be the last time I hear it and I savor that moment.


I have three siblings and my older brother made Aliyah to Israel in 1978.  He lives in Baka which is a popular neighborhood for English speaking olim (immigrants). It is not uncommon to hear more English than Hebrew walking down the street. Shabbat in Jerusalem is special even if you do not have any family or friends to share it with. But having my brother's family and being in Baka raise that feeling to a higher plane.


Shabbat preparation begins in the morning with a visit to the shuk, the big market close to downtown. My brother has his shopping list and we walk through the market. He makes mental notes on the best produce at the best prices as we wind past the stalls. Then we retrace our steps buying the items he has clicked off in his head. We get home to house cleaning and setting the table. When my nieces and nephew were younger they were scrubbed for Shabbat and were dressed in their best clothes.


We walk to shul as the sun sets.  The song Jerusalem of Gold is in my head as you see the sun splash against the Jerusalem stones of buildings. We collect people as we walk and you can't help but notice the peace that has descended upon the streets once clogged with noisy traffic.


We arrive at Yedidyah for singing, services, and greeting friends we have made over the years. Yedidyah is a special shul with a spirit that rouses the soul and exudes warmth and comfort. Back for dinner where there are guests from all over the world every week. Many a Beth Emet member has had the pleasure of Shabbat dinner at the Render table on Rechov Reuven.


Shabbat morning we are back for services and lunch. Later in the afternoon I often return for Torah study and tea and cookies. We go for a long walk and then we are ready for a nice Shabbat nap. That is one pleasure I have yet to make part of my Shabbat here at home.


As darkness draws near we prepare for Havdalah to separate the sweetness of Shabbat with the rest of the week. For me, I am thinking about the pizza place around the corner where I will be when Shabbat is over. As the Havdalah candle is extinguished and the lights come on the city awakens and the cafes fill up and the falafel balls jump in the air and land into the waiting pita bread. Shvauah Tov. May you have a good week.


Robert Render and his wife Debbie have been members of Beth Emet for over 35 years. Most Shabbats they worship at the Kahal service and hope you will all join them.


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 10
6:30 p.m. (5:45 p.m. reception) Kabbalat Shabbat in the Sanctuary. 
Saturday, July 11
9:30 a.m.  Kahal Shabbat in the Weiner Room with Torah Reader 
Josh Montgomery-Patt and Sara Blumenthal Torah Discussion Leader
Roger Price.

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