Story by Jessica Goldstein
We welcomed Shabbat this week by counting the many blessings we have had over the past year. Rachel feels blessed that she is healthy. Mark shared that he feels lucky to be able to go shopping with the staff at his group home.
Everyone lit candles together and chanted the blessing. Mark led the blessings over the challah and the grape juice. Everyone then took a moment and prayed for peace and happiness throughout the world.
Shemot, the Torah portion this week begins the book of Exodus and brings a new Pharoah, who does not remember Joseph. This new Pharoah does not like that the Israelites are rising in stature and gaining land, so he makes the Israelites slaves. One woman tried to spare her son from being a slave and leaves him in a basket in the riverbank. Pharoah’s daughter finds the baby and names him Moses.
When Moses is grown, he defends two Israelites and realizes for this he must flee before Pharoah finds out. Moses travels across the desert to Midian where he marries Zipporah and helps to tend to her family’s sheep. One day while out with the sheep, Moses comes across a burning bush. Through the bush, G-d calls to Moses and tells him to free the Israelites from Egypt. Moses returns to Egypt and tells Pharaoh of G-d’s demands. When Pharoah refuses, G-d promises to punish him.
After studying the Torah, the group also discussed how tonight was not just Shabbat but also Christmas Eve. Everyone discussed how holidays are celebrated all over the world and watched a video of how Christmas is celebrated in Jerusalem, Haifa, Nazareth and Bethlehem.
Stacy told the group when she was young, she used to have Chinese food with her family every year on Christmas and go to the movies.
After singing songs in Hebrew and English, Stacy made a request for her favorite Christmas song to be played and so, the evening ended with “All I want for Christmas is You!”
Wishing you a Shabbat Shalom, and best wishes for a wonderful Holiday Season.