Seasons of Celebration by Phyllis Zimbler Miller & Rabbi Karen L. Fox
A unique blend of tradition and innovation, Seasons for Celebration is an indispensable guide to the Jewish holidays. Each chapter features home and synagogue traditions, insights, activities, art projects, recipes, and holiday blessings in English and transliterated Hebrew. Whether you need a fresh approach to the holidays or are celebrating them for the first time, this is an excellent sourcebook. First published in 1992, this second edition was published in March 2008.
The author has rated this book G (all ages).
It has been said that more than the Jewish people have kept Shabbat, Shabbat has kept the Jewish people. Shabbat, the Sabbath, links us to the past, to all Jews who celebrated this weekly holiday in different countries at different times. Today, it ties us to Jews who speak a myriad of languages throughout the globe. It is a continuing Jewish link in time.
Shabbat, beginning each Friday evening at sunset and concluding Saturday evening at sundown, means different things to different people. For the most traditional in the Jewish community, it means the complete cessation of all ordinary work-related activities, such as driving, cooking, writing, building, buying, and selling. It is a day set aside to rest in specifically Jewish ways.
Others, more liberal in their definitions of work and rest, designate this weekly holiday by celebrating some of the traditions of home and synagogue observances, special meals, and also include social activities and unique recreational pastimes.
The origin of this holiday comes from Genesis, the first book of the Bible, in which God created the world in six days and rested on the seventh. In the Ten Commandments, found in the Book of Exodus, the fourth commandment in “to remember and to observe Shabbat, to keep it holy” (Exodus 20:8).
This statement–”remember Shabbat and keep it holy”–pinpoints the philosophical questions associated with Shabbat: What does it mean to remember a specific time each week? How is a sacred moment in time designated? What actions demonstrate that Shabbat is a Jewish day of rest? How are some everyday actions differentiated to denote Shabbat as sacred?
These theoretical questions lead to the practical ones that all Jews experience: How do we celebrate Shabbat? How do we distinguish between work and rest for Shabbat? How do we make Shabbat relaxing and rejuvenating?
The importance of Shabbat is twofold. Not only is Shabbat central to the preservation of the Jewish people, it is also important as the model of a Jewish holiday. The concepts of rest and work developed for Shabbat are applied to other Jewish holy days. The rituals for each holiday remain the same, using candles, wine, bread, and spices. The community-based celebrations of meals, worship, and social experiences are carried over from Shabbat to other Jewish holidays as well.
Copyright© Phyllis Zimbler Miller. All rights reserved.
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