Editor’s Note
Wed, 04/28/2010
Jewish Week Book Critic
lighting Shabbat candles at a DC-supported home for the aged for survivors of German concentration camps. Nice, France, 1951
Sandee Brawarsky
Sandee Brawarsky
lighting Shabbat candles at a DC-supported home for the aged for survivors of German concentration camps. Nice, France, 1951
Sandee Brawarsky
lighting Shabbat candles at a DC-supported home for the aged for survivors of German concentration camps. Nice, France, 1951

 Chrystie Sherman took the cover photograph, “Shabbat,” in Bukhara, Uzbekistan, in 2002, as part of her “Lost Futures: Journeys into the Jewish Diaspora” project.  Her subject, dressed in a brocade Shabbat robe, opened the door of her family’s home to the photographer shortly before the onset of Shabbat. Later that evening, she hosted Sherman and 10 other guests for a traditional Bukharan Shabbat dinner of fragrant rice and lamb, in their courtyard under the stars. The young woman resembles the Sabbath bride of song.

This month, our distinguished writers pause to consider the Sabbath, a day said to  mirror the world to come (the Zohar). Shelly R. Fredman revisits the classic work of Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, “The Sabbath;” Lucette Lagnado wonders about facing a magnificent but empty synagogue on Shabbat morning; Diane Cole lifts the cover on the cholent pot;  David Kraemer looks back to the Sabbath of the Talmud; and Jerome A. Chanes wrestles with rest. From Israel, Stuart Schoffman ponders the spirit of Shabbat, when sensibilities clash. And we feature an interview with Judith Shulevitz about her extraordinary new book, “The Sabbath World,” and include some fictional notes about the seventh day, which recently appeared in Tablet Magazine.

The 25 hours of the Sabbath have a rhythm and a quiet of their own; even the light has a different quality. We become, in Heschel’s words, artists of the soul. 

The couple at the left are welcoming the Sabbath, remembering Sabbaths past and looking ahead. I love the sanctity of those moments, the sense of joy and possibility mixed with longing.  And I enjoy being with family and friends, savoring conversation andfood at a beautiful table. Jerusalem artist Heddy Abramowitz’s painting on page 5 reminds me of another favorite time: the splendor of a long, reflective Shabbat afternoon. 

Shabbat Shalom, greetings of Sabbath peace, and please stay in touch, 

Mazel tov and many happy celebrations to all. Please keep mailing your comments to editor.textcontext@gmail.com

 

Signup for our weekly email newsletter here.

Check out the Jewish Week's Facebook page and become a fan!  And follow the Jewish Week on Twitter: start here.