Avi McGrady was a student in Adventure Judaism’s Adventure B’nai Mitzvah Class and participated in the Shabbat Project. He experimented with different ways to celebrate Shabbat and then stuck with one that worked for him.
In the Adventure B’nai Mitzvah Class, my classmates and I had a program called the Shabbat Project. Some of you here have a different religion so I’ll explain, Shabbat, or Erev Shabbat, which starts on Friday nights and ends on Saturday at sundown, is one of the highest holidays of the Jewish calendar. The goal of the Shabbat project was to create a family tradition by celebrating Shabbat in various ways. A few of the activities I tried out with my family were: making black and white cookies, a traditional Jewish dessert (ours were pretty good but the deli cookies are always better); having dinner with family and friends, sitting around the table together saying the prayers and talking for a long time; and finally learning about different kinds of Jews around the world, like the Hasidic Jews of Brooklyn.
The Shabbat project became important to me and my family because we really bonded. After celebrating Shabbat four different ways over four months, I was then challenged to pick that one Shabbat custom that I liked most, and practice that Shabbat tradition four more times. I chose to not use electronics until Shabbat was over. I know it’s hard to believe, but it’s true! Not using my electronics or other technologies created a positive change in my life and I felt better about myself because I spent more time with family. We started playing board games and conversing with one another and enjoying each other’s company.
Now that I have discovered this practice I hope to continue it for years to come.