I’ve been trying to understand why more and more people are showing
an interest in our New Sabbath Project. Why they are coming up to us and
saying, “I saw your blog” or I read the article about you at http://
and we think what you’re doing is lovely. We’re mystified that the concept
seems so revolutionary but happy that people are ‘getting it’. You see, the
simple but profound idea of opening your home to others and taking a few
moments to show gratitude and bless those in our lives who could really use
a blessing or two — well that seems to be resonating.
As we build a small fence around the sacred and challenge the idea that
every day is just like every other day we adjust the journey of our lives,
take a course correction as it were and pause just long enough to light some
candles and perhaps light the way to gaining a bit more of community.
By opening up your home to the world around you — not just your relatives, not
just to other Jews — but to the neighbour who just arrived from another city,
the co-worker who you find so nice to work with and to those who we find
so little time to be with like lifelong friends that you promise you’ll get
together with real soon but never really do.
Author Judith Sulevitz writes in ‘The Sabbath World: Glimpses of a Different Order of Time’, that she likes anthropologist Victor Turner’s use of the word “communitas”, referring to the kind of “group life that emerges at the edges of society, not in the middle of it, where people search for something – meaning, solace, truths that the larger society doesn’t seem to offer”.
The Sabbath and the idea of rest from all that propels us through our daily
life is not a retreat but a re-focusing. After six days of doing we are allowed
at least a night if not a whole 24 hours of being. On May 11th we are twinning with and others to host friends and acquaintances, Jews and others in our homes — feasting in celebration of weekly sabbatical to help reconnect with others and grow community. We hope you will consider doing the same. The meal can be modest or grand, it matters little. It can be pot-luck or cordon bleu. We hope that you will want to do the same, invite some neighbors, friends and co-workers to break bread and grow community.
In our home we spend a good hour on appetizers and getting to know each other or catch up with old friends then we come to the table where we sing some traditional blessings over the candles, go around the table to hear each others’ personal blessings (please see website Tool Kit Page at www.newsabbathproject.com), bless the wine as we toast each other and then bless the bread, my wife’s delicious egg loaf Challah, that we dip in a little salt and then, in true Moroccan style, toss a piece of salty, sweet bread to each person starting from the oldest to the youngest. After that, some chicken, a few side dishes that friends bring and great conversation about the things that really matter to us — community, culture and citizenship. This is our way but not the only way but we do find the personal blessings in particular, act as a great equalizer.
It’s all quite simple, but in some small way subversive. If you have thoughts on Sabbath, are inclusive, and looking for pathways to the same end, let us know. If you have the time to contribute something to our blog we are always looking for contributions as well.
I’ll end with something from Judith Sulevitz again from The Sabbath World,” The Sabbath is a ritual, not an artifact. It is not an object built in space; it is a performance enacted in time.”