Events and Life

“The idea is that you switch on your life”

Gus Silber has a terrific post titled “Wait, Slow Down, Stop: the Power of the Shabbos Project” which is really worth reading. We took part in the Shabbos Project last year, didn’t do it last week and I’d like to be part of it next year, perhaps. We’re not particularly observant (although that is changing a little here and there) but there is definitely something about taking a day to step outside our busy weekends to live better. As Silber put it so well:

But the world doesn’t turn anymore, it spins, like a record played at the wrong speed, and the breathless, pulsating distractions can drive you to distraction.
But the idea of the Sabbath – and how nice is the word that springs from it, Sabbatical – isn’t just that you switch off your machines. The idea is that you switch on your life.

Weekends are rarely rest days anymore. We always seem to have somewhere we need to be, things we need to do and we’re exhausted, not refreshed, by Sunday evening. Returning to work on a Monday morning has become a break from the weekend. Shabbos is an opportunity to disengage from everything that takes us away from living more meaningfully and spending quality time with our friends and family.

It’s tempting to do it every week but then again, when would we get everything done?

Mindsets Spirituality Travel and places

"… the difference between living as a Jew outside Israel and as a Jew in Israel"

I just read an article by Brian Thomas titled “Yom Kippur, Tel Aviv style” which I really enjoyed. He pretty much sums it up with in these two paragraphs:

That is the difference between living as a Jew outside Israel and as a Jew in Israel: here we can just BE Jewish and the calendar and the customs and the norms of behavior push us into being culturally Jewish even if we don’t want to study Torah for nine hours a day.

Jews don’t want anywhere else to be a little piece of Israel, we just want this one small place in the world to be ours and to feel Jewish.


"I wear a Magen David because I am not too small to fight"

The last few weeks have been challenging times for Jews worldwide, particularly here in South Africa where we have been spared the growing anti-Semitism that has gripped much of Europe and other parts of the world. The Israeli campaign in Gaza has inspired tremendous opposition to Israel and its ongoing fight to protect its citizens and continue to thrive. Collectively, as Jews, we are probably under the biggest threat we have faced since the Second World War.

I came across an article by Mayim Bialik titled “Why I Wear My Jewish Star” which is a wonderful reminder why we should continue to be proud of who we are even if it seems like the rest of the world is against us. This part, in particular, captures so much of the essence of who we are, at least for me:

Magen David literally translates to Shield of David. The historical King David defeated a giant when he was just a boy, a shepherd even. He was not from a line of kings. He was a flawed hero: He sent a man to the front lines of a war so he could seduce the man’s wife. He was not perfect. But he was the first king to unify Israel. He was a poet, credited with writing the Psalms of the Old Testament.

I wear a Magen David because I am not too small to fight. I am not from too modest an origin to rise up and try to inspire in my own small way. I am not too boastful to be humbled, and I am not so right that I can never be wrong.

That’s the legacy I hail from. That’s what it means to me to wear my Jewish star.