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Family Time MAG
As the blessings that thank God for iilight, bread and wine are softly chanted, a feeling of calmness fills the room. The tensions that have built up during the week slowly diminish. It is the celebration of Shabbat.
Each Friday night my family and I eat dinner together and celebrate the Jewish ritual of Shabbat. We eat the traditional meal of chicken and we drink wine. On the center of the table a challah, which is traditional loaf of bread, waits to be cut and eaten. The prayers and the food are tradition, but the experience is a beautiful memory.
Because of my family's hectic schedule, we rarely have a chance to eat together. Shabbat gives us a set time to spend together in a relaxed atmosphere. As our lives change day by day we often don't have the time to talk and share our feelings. My family life has always been based on honesty and the ability to share our feelings. Now that my sister is away at college, and my schedule brings me home later, the time that Shabbat gives my family is extremely valuable.
When we finish the meal, my parents usually wash the dishes and clean up. Occasionally we go to temple for services or I go out with my friends. Although the meal has ended, and we all go our separate ways, the feeling of love and closeness that we have experienced stays in our hearts.
The memories of the evening continue in my mind as I turn in for the night. The one thing that I always see before I shut out the lights is the Shabbat candles. They are kept burning until the wax melts into nothing. The sight of the golden flames reflecting off the aluminium of the kitchen sink is a memory I will always cherish.
Charles Swain wrote a poem entitled "Home Is Where There Is One To Love Us." This piece captures the feelings of "Home Sweet Home" that have contributed to the memories of Shabbat and everything else I have shared with my family over the years.
Home's not merely four square walls,
Though with pictures hung and gilded;
Home is where Affection calls-
Filled with shrines the Hearth had builded!
Home! Go watch the faithful dove,
Sailing 'neath the heaven above us.
Home is where there's one to love!
Home is where there's one to love us.
Home's not merely roof and room,
It needs something to endear it;
Home is where the heart can bloom,
Where there's some kind lip to cheer it!
What is home with none to meet,
None to welcome, none to greet us?
Home is sweet, and only sweet,
Where there's one we love to meet us!
Charles Swain n