Shabbat In The Sand
Written By Amy Landsman
Many local families regularly celebrate Shabbat during the year. Summer, however, is often a different story, as some of these very same families let things slide when hitting the road for a week at the beach or elsewhere.
After all, the days melt into each other in a blur of sun and fun; and who can even tell when it’s Friday anyway? But setting aside a time for Shabbat at the beach actually makes perfect sense.
There’s no rushing home on Friday afternoon and trying to get things organized. What better way to appreciate all your blessings than when the whole family is relaxing on the sand or in the mountains.
Pack up your candlesticks and some favorite Jewish books in your suitcase and take time to make your family getaway a little more memorable. Here are a few suggestions to help you and your kids see your vacation in a whole new light.
> Unplug. Face it, even though you’re supposed to be on vacation, you’re checking your emails and Facebook status right along with your kids. Rabbi Miriam Burg of the Center for Jewish Education in Baltimore says, why not make it a real vacation by actually turning off our electronics. “On vacation we can put away the iPhones and computers, unplug and have the day to actually connect with one another.”
> Have Shabbat or Havdalah on the beach. This idea also comes from Rabbi Burg, who says the kids can even try making sand castles with a Shabbat theme.
“Kids love to build sand castles. We can also build Shabbat in the sand, create candlesticks, kiddush cups, or challah in the sand,” she says. “There’s a blessing for seeing the ocean. …Take a moment to be in awe, be grateful.”
> Go to services. The Seaside Jewish Community in Rehoboth holds both Friday and Saturday Shabbat services all summer long.
“We’ve very accommodating. We have young people, old, gay, everybody,” says Seaside board member Sam Smulyan. He adds that they welcome visitors and won’t ask for a donation. You can even join: Membership is only $180 a year, and Smulyan says many members belong to both Seaside and their home synagogues. Go to seasidejewishcommunity.com .
In Ocean City, the Chabad of Eastern Shore also happily welcomes visitors. You’ll find them at chabadoceancity.com .
> On Friday, visit a Jewish-themed museum or historical site to get you in the mood. Bring along tea lights you can light on Friday night. Splurge on treats you might not normally buy that the family can share, recommends Rabbi Kelley Gludt, the director of congregational learning at Beth Am Synagogue in Baltimore.
On Saturday, “make it the Shabbat of Shabbats” by forgoing the hectic running around and enjoying restful family time at the playground, the pool, on the beach, or at a museum.