sweet new year

For the new year, a group that was larger than normal gathered around the Friday Shabbat table. The hosting family collected at one end, for what regulars sometimes call “the show.” The mother held her newborn son while the kids — boys 6 and 3 years old — fidgeted and looked out at the guests. For them, this happens every week, and has perhaps happened for generations in their family. They look on expectantly as their father directs the blessings and slices the challah as if he’s a butcher with a regular cut of meat, and he has a dozen or so hungry customers in his shop. Except we’re in his home, most of us only vaguely familiar with these traditions that we claim as ours. Still, if we were judged for our faint sense of faith, we were likely being too hard on ourselves; the apples and honey still tasted as sweet from one plate to the next.

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