As a Hillel professional, sometimes I get tired of â€˜doing Jewish’. That’s not to say that I don’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 I’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 I’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. It’s not quite a balanced expectation.
One of the great things about participating in last week’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 Reboot’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. Here’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.