As a Hillel professional, sometimes I get tired of â€˜doing Jewishâ€™. Thatâ€™s not to say that I donâ€™t come into work every day with the same enthusiasm, passion and drive that motivated me to start working for Hillel in the first placeâ€¦But that when I get home on a Friday afternoon (if Iâ€™m not working that Shabbat) the last thing I want to do is turn off my TV and host a Shabbat meal, or even, just turn off my TV. I could think of a million things Iâ€™d rather do â€“ go out with friends, go on a weekend vacay, shop, talk to my cat, eat baconâ€¦sleep! And when I verbalize this, I realize, I am more like my students than I thought. They, too, want to spend Friday and Saturday out with friends, to go shopping, sleep in or eat trayf â€“ but I want them to come to us for Shabbat dinner, for a weekday lunch, for coffee, for holidays; to continue their Jewish journey while I stay stalled in mine. Itâ€™s not quite a balanced expectation.
One of the great things about participating in last weekâ€™s Hillel Institutewas coming to find that I am not alone in this. Â Nor am I alone in searching for a way to make Shabbat meaningful. So many of us are trying to avoid burning out (while working 60â€¦70â€¦80 hours a week) that we have lost touch, either by circumstance or intention, with our own Judaism.Â Over dinner during the Institute, a few colleagues presented us with an idea of creating a Shabbat community for ourselves, using Rebootâ€™s Sabbath ManifestoÂ as a guide. Forty Hillel staffers will be participating in The Shabbat ExperimentÂ based on the 10 principles in the Manifesto. Â Every week, one member from each of the four cohorts will assign a task based on one of the principles -then we blog about it, sharing our experiences. Hereâ€™s hoping that this experiment will enable us to create community for ourselves, take time for ourselves and (re)discover personal meaning in Shabbat. I look forward to sharing the journey with you all.