How To Read Eshet Hayil - A Feminist Perspective

Posted on July 16th, 2017

Explaining this ancient song about a 'woman of valor'

I cannot remember exactly when my family began singing Eshet Hayil at the Friday night table. I do know that it was we, the kids, who brought this custom into the house. When I was 5 years old, my family moved to Toronto from Sarnia, a small town in Western Ontario where my father had owned a furniture store that was founded by his father, an immigrant from Galicia.

“Who had time in Sarnia,” recalls my father, “for a leisurely Friday night dinner? You had to rush home, eat quickly, and get back to the store.”

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Shabbat Crafts - Paper Poppies and More

Posted on July 9th, 2017


Do you have a little extra time on your hands this summer?  Maybe you can make some simple Shabbat crafts with your children.


It is purely by accident that this post showing you how to make wonderful paper poppies in just a few simple steps follows my post sharing with you the real thing now in bloom on our grassy hillsides! I actually made these simple DIY paper poppies two weeks ago for a women's gathering in our community, and well, as you know life is busy and at present time I only get around to photographing maybe half of what I actually make! I'm hoping the other half will eventually end up in a book or series of some kind, but don't hold your breath as I haven't been able to magically add more time to the day.

Speaking of time, these paper poppies which can be made in many sizes are really quite quick once you get the hang of it, and you could make quite a few of these to use as centerpieces for an event with say ten or even twenty tables. Enlist the help of two friends, set aside two evenings, and voila, gorgeous and original centerpieces will grace every table. Send the flowers home with guests, or keep them for another occasion, nicely wrapped up to keep them dust free.

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How To: Keep Shabbat in a non-shomer Shabbat environment

Posted on July 2nd, 2017
Created by Emily Mostow, USY Religion/Education 

Shabbat is a gift. It’s an entire day of the week that’s set aside just for rest, reflection, and joy. It’s a time to forget about all of the complexities of the week, and let life be simple. But when you live in an environment that is not shomer Shabbat (Sabbath Observer), sometimes, keeping Shabbat seems anything but simple.

Regardless, even outside of a shomer Shabbat community, Shabbat can be the best day of the week! This guide is here to help you get the most out of your Shabbat experience while balancing laws with sensitivity to your surroundings. Flip through the headers to see which ones apply to your Shabbat experience. 

The purpose of this guide is NOT to convince you to take on new observances. However, if you are interested in observing Shabbat or already do so, and find yourself struggling to do so in your environment, this guide will help!

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What Is the Kiddush?

Posted on June 25th, 2017

Sanctifying Sabbath and holidays, with special blessings over wine.

Kiddush , which means holiness, is the prayer over wine (or grape juice) that sanctifies Shabbat .

On Friday night, the Kiddush is recited over a full cup of wine or grape juice before sitting down for Shabbat dinner and before saying the Motzi, the blessing over the challah. Traditionally, the Kiddush was recited by men. Today, in many households women or men recite the Kiddush. After the Kiddush is recited, the cup is passed around so that everyone can take a sip from it. Many families have a special cup, called a Kiddush cup, reserved for this purpose. Kiddush cups can be purchased at Judaica stores and online.

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Shabbat for Families

Posted on June 18th, 2017

How to make Shabbat your family's favorite day of the week.

Preparing for and celebrating Shabbat can be a daunting proposition. There are so many things to do even just to prepare, and if you have children, the prospect of celebrating Shabbat (meant to be joyous and relaxing) for even one hour, let alone 25, can seem preposterous.

Don’t give up. This day-long marathon can be packed with marvelous family traditions and special opportunities for fun. Instead of making a radical change in the way your family observes Shabbat, make it gradual. Try some of these tips below and make Shabbat a truly special day for your family.

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Friday, July 28, 2017 - 5:45pm
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