For the first time in a long time here I finally feel like I'm having a Shabbat I really enjoy.
Thursday night, after another great conference call with the Cincinnati campus, I joined a bunch of people out for dinner to celebrate their birthdays. The 2nd dinner of the night was for all of us that are doing the Ride for Reform (starts tomorrow morning, and I'm still raising funds, if you can donate check out this link) and followed that with hanging out with some more friends before heading home.
Friday I cleaned and got ready for Shabbat which I got to spend in the city of Tzur Hadassah. Two of the Year in Israel Cantorial students help lead services with one of the Israeli students in this community. They worked with her to organize home hosting for a Shabbat Dinner. It was amazing.
We had a very Sephardi (Spainish, North African heritage) dinner with our family. Complete with fish, soup, chicken, beef, salad couscous, tea, wine and dessert. It was incredible. I'd love to share with you the "blessing of couscous" with you, but I want to keep that in my back pocket as a story to use as a Rabbi. Maybe I'll put it up on here later, or maybe I can prepare couscous for you sometime and I can tell you then.
Not only was the dinner amazing, but I also got to help lead services for the community and bang of my drum all day. It's so much fun adding that to services, especially Kabbalat Shabbat (Friday Night Services).
This morning I had a hard time dragging myself out of bed to get to HUC on time to rehearse a little more. Running a few minutes later than I wanted to be, I got to school in time and joined in the closing song, "Say" by John Mayer, that Mike really wanted to use. It was a lot of fun, although non-traditional, I really liked it as a closing song. He might put it up online and if that happens I will find a way to link to it.
Services were great, and I really like the Sermon that Beni delivered. I know I'm going to miss all of my friends that are going to be at other campuses, but I am excited to keep learning with the people who will join me at Cincinnati.
Lunch was also really, really good, and I just got back to my apartment. I need to clean and pack up my place so I'm ready to go on the Ride 4 Reform, which starts tomorrow, but the day is just perfect. I don't really trust the weather reports that I get here, so I'm going to venture a guess that it's mid to high 70's right now, and a perfectly sunny afternoon. If I wasn't about to spend 5 days on the back of a bike, I'd be out riding right now.
It might be that I don't have homework to do for tomorrow, since I won't be in class. Or it could be that this is really just an amazing day. But in my world, and in my Judaism, this is Shabbat and what it is supposed to be like.
I know that according to Orthodoxy, Shabbat and the afterlife is a time that there will be no work and complete rest. To me, that misses the mark by a little bit. Shabbat is a time to be with friends, to enjoy the world. It is a time to enjoy the company of other people and to recharge for the next week.
This has been a perfect Shabbat!