There was an intriguing article in The Telegraph over the weekend about several women who have embraced Orthodox Judaism.
I found it interesting on various levels. But there was a sentence that captured my attention where one of the women was describing her first Sabbath:
That Friday evening, as well as eating chicken soup, they sang traditional songs and spoke about the lessons they’d learnt that week – then on Saturday they spent the morning at synagogue and gathered for a big lunch.
She then went on to add:
I could see they had switch-off time, to think about their values, and there was this close community spirit I’d never experienced. Sitting around these strangers’ table, I thought, “This is how I want to live my life.” It was the strongest feeling you could ever imagine.
I can understand the desire for this. I’m lucky to be part of a small community of a few families exploring life and faith together. But reading this made me realise I still crave more.
It’s the community, the sharing of values, processing shared learning, traditions – all of these (regardless of faith) feel like they continue to have a place in our world.
Covid has diminished our ability to connect this last 18 months, but I’m keen to reestablish this. We need space for this kind of connection: the traditions, the shared memories and experiences, the conversations around things that matter. And yes, the food! Eating together, breaking bread.
I’m not going to be embracing Orthodox Judaism, but I’m grateful for the reminder of many of the positive elements to religious and faith communities.