This is a picture of me lighting the Shabbat Candles. The Shabbat candles signify the end of a week and the start of a new week. I have been practicing slowing down during Shabbat and allowing myself time to rest and reflect. I am looking forward to being able to spend Shabbat in Israel in just a few short weeks.
This is a picture of me & my brother lighting Shabbat candles. We were both Bar & Bat Mitzvah'd and were raised with the same traditions and values. Together, we discussed how our week had gone and things we'd like to improve on. I really enjoyed this moment with my brother Connor.
This is a picture of me & my mother lighting Shabbat Candles. It was really nice to be able to share this Jewish tradition with my Mother because she is Jewish and helped to raise me/instill in me many values that are rooted in the Jewish culture/religion. Lighting these candles signifies the start of a new week.
I went to Friday Night Services on May 27, 2016. I went to Congregation Beth Or located in Horsham, PA. This was the same synagogue where I had my Bat Mitzvah but have not been back many time over the years. I am appreciate of this 100 Point Challenge for pushing me to do things outside of my comfort zone, like go to Friday Night Services. Every time I do go to synagogue, I feel a strong sense of independence and identity to my Jewish roots. Although I don't remember all of the Hebrew prayers and songs, I do hum along and chant when I can. I would definitely go back to this synagogue because it is the closest one to my house and I am familiar with the rabbi and cantor.
For this challenge, I hosted a "Shabbat Meal" on Friday night. I kept it small and cooked for just my immediate family (mom, dad, brother). Both my mother & brother are Jewish but my dad is not.
The foods I served included Matzah Ball Soup (which I had a lot of fun making), Challah, a Brisket (which my mom helped me to make), and Pie for dessert!
My favorite part of the Shabbat dinner was lighting the candles and saying the blessing over the bread. I am now very familiar with these traditions thanks to the various challenges on this website. Every time I host a Shabbat meal, I feel a sense a strong sense of identity and roots to my Jewish history. It is a wonderful feeling and I also enjoy being able to share these types of traditions with my family.
I would most definitely host another Shabbat dinner in the future.
Hi everyone :) My name is Alli and I am from Phila, PA! I am currently an undergrad getting my certification in Early Childhood/Special Ed. I also teach yoga part-time.
I am SO looking forward to have the opportunity to go back to Israel! I recently went on my Birthright trip and had the most amazing time learning about culture, religion, etc.
See you all very very soon :)
I meant to say in the video that I WILL be committing to this next Friday for Shabbat.
The video explains it all.
I hosted a Shabbat meal three Fridays ago! I invited my neighbors who have were not Jewish and have never been to a Shabbat dinner before but they were excited for the new experience. I served Matzah Ball Soup, Israeli Salad, Matzah, Baked Potatoes. My dad made Salmon as a main meal and my mom also served rice. It was an awesome feeling being able to host my first Shabbat meal. I felt more connected to the Jewish culture than ever before and felt a new-found sense of independence (seeing that my parents are always hosting the Jewish holiday dinners). I would do it again...even though it was a lot of work! My favorite part about the meal was lighting the candles. I was excited to show my neighbors a part of the Jewish culture/religion and they were impressed and enjoyed themselves.
After reading the article "Making Synagogue Meaningful," the following tips I chose were: 1) 5 minutes of meaningful prayer are more powerful than hours of lip-service. 2) Don't expect to be "moved" by each prayer. 3) It's okay to linger if you feel particularly moved by a specific prayer.
I do think these tips could help make my synagogue experience more meaningful. I do pray but not on a consistent basis and I think sometimes the expectation is that you need to get on your knees and pray for 5 hours to have a connection from God, but that just is not the case. 5 minutes really can be more powerful than 5 hours of meaningless connection. Secondly, I naturally have really high expectations so if I go into services thinking that I am going to be "moved" by every single prayer, it just is not going to happen. Lowering expectations and taking what comes is a much more realistic approach. Lastly, it's okay to linger. I don't connect with every single prayer I hear when I do go to services, but lingering on something I do connect with could make it more meaningful.
If I had to give a tip to someone else to make their experience more meaningful, I would say go with other people. Having a group of Jewish people can help possibly make the experience more rich and meaningful, when you're sharing the religion together.
Thinking about the upcoming year, there are things I would like to ask God. The first thing I'd like to ask is the courage to be myself. We live in a world where the media largely portrays how women and men should look and act. That can be very damaging to ones' self-esteem and so I would like to ask God to give me the courage to be myself, no matter what. Another thing I would like to ask God is to keep me safe during my time in Israel. I know that dangerous things can happen anywhere but being so far from home, it is important that I feel safe and return home in one piece. Lastly, I ask God to give me more patience with my family. We live together and often times I can take them for granted, rushing by. I would like to stop and practice more compassion towards them.
When thinking about myself spiritually, I do look at myself more spiritual than religious. I guess when it comes to my Jewish identity, I do understand that Judaism doubles as an ethnicity and religion. I very much identify with the culture and ethnicity, and I do realize I feel strayed from the religion. I would like to grow more religiously. I think I can do that by going to synagogue more and every time I visit Israel, I hope that can strength my religious ties.
Once returning from my Birthright Trip, I really did feel like I had a spiritual awakening. Never have I been out of the country and to be given the opportunity to see the Holy Land for the first time was literally something I will never forget.
Another spiritual experience that has affected me over the past year was getting my Yoga Certification. The actual process was not spiritual, but teaching the classes sure are. I found yoga about 4 years ago and now having the opportunity to lead others on the same journey is something I am very grateful for.
This past Yom Kippur, my family and I went to services at Congregation Beth Or. The service was really beautiful and of course listening to the shofar was really exciting. I chose not to fast because I have never done that in my life and was a little fearful to. However, I am going to make a commitment to fast THIS year because it is something I want to do to honor the holiday.
I celebrated Rosh Hashanah by dipping apples in honey, of course! My family and I always like to sit and we each go around and "reflect" on the year. We say 1 thing that we were really proud of/one thing that made us happy. We say 1 thing that we could have done better on/could have worked a little harder at. Lastly, we say one thing we would like to accomplish in the next upcoming year. This tradition means a lot to me because it gives my family and I a chance to re-connect, refresh and rejuvenate for the the new year. The apples and honey are always very yummy of course, too!
I attended Passover Seder at my parent's house. My mother hosts the dinner every year and I was looking forward to attending this year. I very much enjoyed remember the story & traditions of Passover and even helped a little in the kitchen.
I completed this challenge by posting a Mezuzah outside of my bedroom door and recited the blessing while touching it. It was a beautiful moment.
I always wash my hands before I eat but I have never used a cup to do so, or recited the blessing.
It was interesting to me how such a simple, day-to-day task can be made more conscious and spiritual by slowing down and reciting a blessing.
I very much enjoyed this activity and although it is not realistic to do this every-time, possibly before breaking bread I can participate and recite the blessing again.
On April 1, 2016 I attended Family Shabbat Worship at Congregation Beth Or, located in Horsham, PA.
I had not been to synagogue or services in at least a year, if not more. This was the synagogue I had my Bat Mitzvah at (different location, same congregation). It was wonderful to see that the same Rabbi and Cantor were there. I remembered singing some of the songs of worship and it brought back wonderful memories.
I would definitely go back again and hope to do so at least once before the Recharge Israel Trip.
This is a picture of me baking Hamantahsen during Purim! They were very yummy.
My favorite Purim memory was playing dress-up with my brother! In Sunday School, we learned all about the story of Queen Esther and Haman. My brother and I would dress up as Queen Esther and Haman (we even have pictures to prove it).
I can also remember going to a Purim festival each year at my Synagogue. We would also sing fun songs about the story of Purim.
On April 6, 2016, I went to Walton Farm Elementary located in Lansdale, PA. This elementary school hosted an event in which Holocaust survivor Isle Lindemeyer came to share her experience, strength and hope about her stories being born in Germany and having escaped and survived the Holocaust through the Kindertransport.
I chose this event because, although it was extremely sad and somewhat difficult to sit through, I realize that eventually it will be more and more difficult to meet real-life Holocaust survivors. As the years go on, there will be less and less and I wanted to take this opportunity to hear from someone who lived through the tragedy first hand.
The event was hosted by Walton Farm Elementary and Isle was supported by a representative from the Holocaust Museum in Philadelphia. The students at Walton Farm Elementary School studied Isle's life and the picture I posted is of me in front of the student-made timeline of Isle's life.
I took away from the event more information and rich history from one of the most devastating times in the history of the Jewish people. Although there were so many lives lost, there are survivors out there. We can help remember the lives lost by hearing from others who have survived and honoring through the remembrance.