I know I've already talked on this blog about how we attend Tot Shabbat's in the South Bay area. Hopefully in the next few months we'll be able to take advantage of a few additional temples in the area, and really expand our Shul Shopping.
Going to Tot Shabbat is wonderful. However, I think it's important to remember that Shabbat is a holiday that centers on the home. It's an occasion and a moment for us all to rest, relax and step away from the daily grind.
But how do you do that when you have a busy, busy week? How do you do that when you have an unpredictable toddler running around? As you can see from Kveller here, it's not always easy, with kids of any age.
We like to accomplish a few things in our home on Fridays:
1. Light the candles. We light one candle for each member of the family (including one for the July baby...) We use tea light holders and simple tea lights from Ikea. No worrying about whether the candles will fall out, just simple things that you can grab anywhere. I lite them with a gas lighter, rather than strike a match- that way I can hold on to EG while I light them.
2. Say some prayers. We usually do the prayers over candles, wine and challah. We've been trying to bless our children too, but sometimes it's easier to remember than others. We don't care if we sing them, say them, English or Hebrew. As long as we're blessing what's in front of us, it's a contribution to the holiness of the evening.
3. Be grateful. We ask each member of the family to say one thing they are grateful for. No judging each other's contributions. Sometimes its something simple, like standing here together. Other times it's something random, like Amoxicillian to make us healthy. We try to cultivate a moment of peace and gratitude for life.
4. Eat Challah/Bread. We get challah from EG's school. Before we had that I used to order it from my local college's Challah for Hunger project. Before that I would buy two challah rolls from Noah's bakery, which I walked to at lunch. Sometimes we don't get challah. Since it's being delivered by EG's school, if she doesn't go or there isn't school we forget. But it's the food we always try to eat on Fridays. No, we don't always eat a big meal. No we don't always even manage to sit at the table together and eat all together. But we can share challah.
5. Larger celebration once a month. We try to make it to Tot Shabbat. Since they serve food it's really easy. But we don't always manage. If not we try to have guests over for dinner, that's fun, but more stressful.