Attending a Jewish Sabbath - Cultural Observation Narrative Essay by Nicky

Attending a Jewish Sabbath - Cultural Observation
Cultural observation of a Friday night at an Orthodox Jewish home.
# 149286 | 963 words | 0 sources | 2011 | US
Published on Dec 05, 2011 in Religion and Theology (Judaism)

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This paper was part of an assignment for a cultural observation in which the author chose to attend a Friday night meal at an Orthodox Jewish home. The paper describes in detail the rituals of the Friday night meal, their meaning and certain prohibitions involved in observing the Sabbath. Additionally, the paper gives an overview of the Jewish Sabbath and it's time frame. Finally, the observer noted that the Sabbath meal is is a ritual that is regularly performed, rather than one that is occasionally performed on a special holiday. The atmosphere in the house was very relaxed, given that the Sabbath meal was regarded as a natural part of the family's relaxing and unwinding, after a long week. The author also noted how he was treated in a welcoming manner by the family, who tried to explain actions and rituals as the meal progressed. The paper concludes by stating that the Sabbath was a normal experience for the family and did not seem constraining.

From the Paper:

"Right before sunset begins, on a specific time, the Sabbath candles are lit and there is a blessing said over the candles. The time by which the candles must be lit is actually said over the radio, as it is decided by a rabbi, and changes with the seasons and daylight savings time. Because I do not speak or understand Hebrew, the fact that the blessing over the candles was said in another language immediately affirmed the 'otherness' of the experience, although not necessarily in a 'bad' way, because beforehand the meaning of the ritual was explained to me. Several blessings were said, and then there was a blessing of the Sabbath wine, a ritual washing of the hands, followed by the blessing of the Sabbath bread called challah. Then, the meal was eaten, followed by another ritual prayer in Hebrew."

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