Bringing Shabbat Home Under Quarantine

By Jordana Gresen

Being quarantined has its challenges, but one thing I have enjoyed is having my two children home from college and being together for Shabbos dinners. In the past we would enjoy an occasional Shabbos dinner with the kids when they were available, but now that they are always available, I decided it was a great time to do this every Friday. When my family was asked to help host the pre-shabbat live event it sounded like a fun idea. I’ve been busy working my office job from home, so I didn’t have much time to plan but I chose the menu based on what I had in the house. My daughter made a salad, I made a chicken dish, veggies and potato latkas (from a box!).  I was so happy that I had purchased a challah from the Jinspire bake sale a few weeks earlier, so I just had to take it out of the freezer.

Listening to Charlie Harary live was such an inspiration and brought the Shabbos experience to an elevated level as he discussed the meaning of spiritual rest that Shabbos brings.  His words struck a chord with what is happening around us when he said we are living in an insecure world. Weeks have passed and we try our best to stay positive and keep our sense of security with all the uncertainty.  It was comforting being reminded that we can only do our best and there is something bigger than us. G-d runs the world and we are in good hands.

When Ruchi Koval spoke, I felt as if she was a longtime friend sitting at my table sharing something very meaningful. She said we all must have a memory of someone in our family lighting Shabbos candles. I thought about how it would have been nice if my mom had that tradition in my home while I was growing up. Just as I had that thought, my children looked at me and I realized they were nodding to the fact that they will always have the memory of me lighting the candles on Friday nights. They may not have realized it, but that was a special moment for me. I hope my family knows they are in my prayers as I light those candles.  On one of my Jinspire trips, I decided it was important to light Shabbos candles and made the commitment to do so. I am so thankful to Project Inspire for all of the goodness and inspiration it has brought to our lives, as well as the many truly amazing friends we have made.

We received many messages from friends who I didn’t even know were watching the live pre Shabbos event, telling us they were happy to see us and how put together we were.  I had to laugh since in reality, as Dave and I finished our work day I asked him how much time we had left. It was not enough time to get dressed, put dinner in the oven, set the table and get the computer set up. How could we possibly pull this off?  Once we were all at the Shabbos table, the worries disappeared and I felt as Charlie said, that we were virtually holding hands bringing in Shabbos together. Dave spoke from the heart, as he always does, and our new puppies barked in the background. What a meaningful experience!

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