Shabbat on the Kibbutz
We Jews are lucky enough to have a holiday every single week. The Sabbath is a time for rest and relaxation, a time for friends and family, and a time to pause and reflect. We certainly get all that here on Kibbutz Lotan. Shabbat starts just like in most places: families gather together in their homes, light the candles and say the prayers together. Maybe the children are blessed as well or a song or two sung. Then, some of the families come down to the moadon, the kibbutz’s synagogue. The all Hebrew service is a typical reform service lasting about one hour. Some melodies are familiar and some are new to me.
After services, you can really feel the festive atmosphere of the Sabbath. The whole community has gathered in the main square, children are running around on the large lawn and the air is full of conversations. We all enter the chadar ochel together and take our seats around the tables. As a community, we sing ha’motzi and ha’gafen. Then, each week, a festive meal is had. Bread, salad, rice, beans, vegetables, chicken (or vegi alternative), not to mention the ‘excellent‘ wine (you know it is excellent because it says so in its name – think manischewitz wine in the ‘States). The table is full of food and if by some chance a plate runs out, there is always more in the kitchen. There is something special in the air when the whole community is gathered together for one meal a week.
Once the dinner is over, the moadon is opened again for tea, coffee, and cake. More conversations are had, more lounging out in the chairs with a stuffed belly, more kids running around, just like after any holiday meal. Then, one by one, people start to head home. No alarms are set, no last-minute touch ups on the reports due soon. And almost the whole community sleeps in on Saturday morning, thankful for the day of rest given us every week. How lucky are we?