August 8, 2014
Every week, Jody Hirsh, the JCC's Judaic Education Director, provides a Judaic message that is featured at the top of the JCC's weekly email newsletter. Below is the Shabbat message for Friday, August 8, 2014.
Shabbat Shalom... a Sabbath of Peace... is the traditional Sabbath Greeting. Not only do you wish people a “Shabbat Shalom” when you see them on the Sabbath, but you can also wish them Shabbat Shalom before the Sabbath: you wish for the a Sabbath of Peace when they do observe the Sabbath. According to the great 20th Century Rabbi, Abraham Joshua Heschel, “the Sabbaths are our great cathedrals.” Peace. Quiet. Spirituality. Relaxation. Rest. A sense of wellbeing. All of this contributes to our sense of Peace on the Shabbat. We have taken a break from the requirements and pressures of the normal work week and away from the noise and chaos of our everyday existence.
However.. what if our everyday existence is war? Those of us sitting here in Milwaukee reading newspaper (and Facebook) accounts of rockets and missiles, explosions and casualties, and sirens and bomb shelters can’t possibly comprehend that reality. What must Shabbat be like in these times of peril?
Deb Carneol, our JCC Social Media and Family Programs Coordinator was just in Israel leading a Birthright trip and participating in a JNF Mission trip. She spent a Shabbat with Noa Karsenty (our community Shin Shin* from 2004) and her family. Noa lived with Deb’s family when she was here and is Deb’s “Israeli Sister.” What was Shabbat like in Israel during this period of crisis?
“You would have had no idea that it wasn’t just a normal Shabbat,” Deb told us. “It was so nice to be with my Israeli family. For Shabbat, at least, we had no worries. We focused on Shabbat: cooking together and eating together under the stars. We didn’t discuss ‘the situation.’ We had a Sabbath of Peace.”
*The Milwaukee Jewish Community engages two “Shin Shins” every year. These Israeli young people spend a year of community service in our community and work at the JCC and MJDS. “Shin Shin,” which should actually be “Shin Shin Shin,” stands for Shnat Sherut Sheinit” – a “second community service year.” They come to us between graduation from High School, and their entry into the Israeli Army.
Shabbat under the stars with the Karsenty Family
Deb and Noa in K'far Hitim