Linda Wood Rondeau

Snark & Sensibility

A PEEK AT THE JEWISH SHABBAT PART 1
Wednesday, November 25, 2020 by SUSAN G MATHIS

PLEASE WELCOME

SUSAN G. MATHIS

TO

DEVOTIONAL WEDNESDAY SPECIAL

A two-part presentation

second installment Dec 9th)

 

A BOOK EXCERPT (PART I)

 

            In my latest Christmas novella, Reagan, a Gentile, experiences the Shabbat with a Jewish family. Have you ever experienced a Jewish Shabbat? I have, and it’s an amazing spiritual evening. Here’s an excerpt:

 

Mrs. Bernheim lit the candles and waved her hands over them three times, apparently saying a silent prayer. Reagan tried to relax in the solemn peacefulness that filled the room.

Then Mr. Bernheim stood, and Reagan peeked to see if she should fold her hands or what she was supposed to do. She followed the missus lead who simply bowed her head. He began, “Blessed are you, O Lord our God, King of the Universe, you are the author of peace…” He went on to talk about the holiness of the Sabbath, the candles driving out the darkness and lighting our way.

Everyone joined him with an “amen” and Reagan felt God’s gentle presence fill the room as Mrs. Bernheim sat. Then, Mr. Bernheim surprised her by going over to the twins, laying his hands on the boys’ heads, and praying for each one of them before breaking into a song of blessing.

Reagan’s eyes stung with tears, but she blinked them back. Never had she seen Mr. Bernheim so loving and tender. She looked at the boys who sat unusually still and quiet and Mr. Bernheim returned to his seat.

“Blessed are you, O Lord our God, King of the Universe, who creates the fruit of the vine.” Mr. Bernheim took a sip of a crystal goblet of wine and passed it to his wife. Reagan watched her hand it to Jacob who took a gulp and handed it to her. She took a sip and passed it to Joseph. He took a large swallow then returned it his uncle. He leaned over to Reagan and whispered, “That was the Kiddush.”

Next, the butler brought a bowl of water with a towel hung over his arm. From Mr. and Mrs. Bernheim, to Reagan, to the boys, each washed their hands and dried them. She supposed it meant they were to be clean, but she wasn’t sure. Mr. Bernheim prayed for their clean hands.

“Blessed are you, O Lord our God, King of the Universe, who brings forth bread from the earth.” The missus repeated this prayer and so did Jacob. Was she to repeat the prayer too? She did, and Joseph followed. Jacob whispered, “That was the Hamotzi.”

Two loaves of bread sat on the table covered with intricately tatted cloths. Mrs. Bernheim ceremoniously removed both cloths, and each of them tore off a piece of the bread and ate in silence. How interesting to have only bread for dinner!

Yet just as she was thinking that, the butler set a large, silver bowl before them. He removed the cover and proceeded to ladle a golden chicken soup into bowls and place them before each of them.

When dinner was finished, the butler removed the bowls and set small plates before each of them. Jacob leaned in and whispered, “It’s honey cake. I just know it.”

Sure enough, the butler presented a golden bundt. He cut the cake and served it. Almonds and raisins made it a most delightful treat, and the missus allowed the boys to have a second piece.

Mr. Bernheim cleared his throat. “Jacob and Joseph, remember that tomorrow is a day of rest. No wild boy nonsense.”

Joseph dabbed his lips, missing a bit of cake on his cheek. Reagan wiped it clean. “Yes, Uncle. But can we go outside, please?”

“Yes, Uncle. God wants us to admire His creation, and when I do, I sometimes I even think of a prayer or two.”

Mrs. Bernheim laughed into her napkin. She glanced at her husband who bid her to answer. “You may, but no foolishness.”

 

On December 18th, part two will overlay the Christian symbolism. Don’t miss it!

 

ABOUT REAGAN’S REWARD

Buy Link

In my sixth Gilded Age story, Reagan’s Reward, it’s 1912. Reagan Kennedy assumes the position of governess to the Bernheim family’s twin nephews, and her life at Cherry Island’s Casa Blanca becomes frustratingly complicated. Service to a Jewish family when she is a Gentile and tending to eight-year-old, mischievous boys yields challenges galore.

Daniel Lovitz serves as the island’s caretaker and boatman. He tries to help the alluring Reagan make sense of her new world, but she calls into question his own faith background and forces him to face the hurts of his past. Then there’s the jealous lady’s maid who seems intent on wedging herself between them. Can he and Reagan ever find common ground on such a small island?

ABOUT SUSAN G. MATHIS

Susan G Mathis is an award-winning, multi-published author of stories set in the beautiful Thousand Islands, her childhood stomping ground in upstate NY. Her first two books of The Thousand Islands Gilded Age series, Devyn’s Dilemma and Katelyn’s Choice are available now, and she’s working on book three. The Fabric of Hope: An Irish Family Legacy, Christmas Charity, and Sara’s Surprise are also available. Susan’s books have won numerous awards, including the Illumination Book Award, the American Fiction Award and the Indie Excellence Book Award. Visit www.SusanGMathis.com for more.

 

Website: www.SusanGMathis.com/fiction

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SusanGMathis

Twitter: https://twitter.com/@SusanGMathis

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/susangmathis

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/susangmathisaut

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6044608.Susan_G_Mathis

Amazon: Susan G Mathis author

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