Adventures with the Shabbackpack

Adventures with the Shabbackpack

In pre-pandemic times, we welcomed Shabbat in what felt like the most natural way. Families would come together every Friday afternoon. We would sing songs, reflect on our week, and bring in Shabbat together. Importantly, this gave families the opportunity to truly connect with one another. Not just as parents of kids in the same class, but as valued members of our community as a whole.

But with Covid, the world, and Makom Community along with it, needed to adjust how we connect and make sense of time.

How do we connect when we cannot physically be together in our space? How do we intentionally bring in Shabbat when the days seem to melt together? How do we create holy moments, when so much of our energy and time is focused on the stressors of work from home, distance learning, and all around pandemic life?

Introducing the Shabbackpack! Each week, a different family got to bring home the Shabbackback, and experience Shabbat as it best suits their personal traditions.

Included in the shabbackpack is as follows:

  • Food items, such as grape juice and a mini challah
  • Shabbat prayers for the candle lighting, kiddush, motzi, and the blessing for the children
  • Text from our tradition about Shabbat to talk about with your family
  • Rainbow pillow

Lastly, we included a journal for each family to  answer some of the questions included on the text sheet, or their reflections on coming together as a family for Shabbat.

Here are some of the reflections that families added to our shabbackpack journal:

  • We had a lot of fun answering the questions, and we loved hearing how excited the kids were to share what they’ve been learning at Makom! Lighting candles is always exciting and it was nice to make the end of the week feel special.
  • We really liked the discussion questions and talking as a family about what we enjoy about Shabbat. We enjoyed lighting the candles and having a special dinner.
  • We really enjoyed this. The questions sparked some good conversation over dinner. It was such a nice way to end a long week.
  • The challah was a treat after Passover!

Families shared their Shabbat traditions:

  • We normally have Saba and Savta over for Shabbat dinner but we facetimed instead.
  • We made the pizza blessing
  • We want to play games as a family on Shabbat to make it special moving forward.
  • We talked about how we make Shabbat special, including by using special dishes, eating special food, and having more time to play games and read together!

There was particular excitement about the rainbow pillow:

  • Having the rainbow pillow reminded us of having Shabbat guests.
  • When we were upset we squeezed the pillow.
  • The rainbow pillow was a hit as we all took turns reclining during dinner.
  • (kid) celebrated shabbat by wearing the pillow around his neck and running around the house

The responses in the journal spoke to the need to connect and separate the long week from the holiness of Shabbat, and the uniqueness in how each family celebrates their tradition and each other.  If your family didn’t get a chance to bring the Shabbackpack home this year, we are planning on bringing this Covid innovation into our fully in person year!

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