Yesterday my godson Jamie and his mother C and I were invited for a Sabbath meal by my niece. She comes from an orthod0x Jewish family and it was very much the traditional meal. C is a RI teacher and always eager to see at first hand religious practices. Amongst these Jewish orthodox practices are the total separation of milk and meat to the extent of 4 sets of crockery (two just for Passover) the head covering of makes with a a skull cap and prayers before and after the meal.
The meal – of course kosher – was a traditional one of chopped liver, egg and onion, chicken soup with dumplings known a kneidlach, roast chicken with four types of vegetables and a variety of desserts. I am no observant Jew but my niece’s home is close to the flat of my deceased grandma where as a family we often partook of such a meal.
The Friday night meal heralding the start of Shabbat has one very important asset which is a religious namely there is a total ban on any work. Amongst the adults this prohibition includes mobiles and the young videogames. My niece quoted a saying:
”Shabbat saved Jews more than Jews saved Shabbat ”.
Certainly it was a relief not to see or hear a mobile phone. A very fine kosher wine,a Cabernet Sauvignon from Sinai, was served but I could not make a note of it as writing is prohibited. Alcohol is not part of the Shabbat meal, none was offered on arrival but you eat heartily.
Above all it is family time and my godson, an excellent mixer , melded in quickly though he must have been the first goy that the other children had met at shabbat meal .
Later in the evening my nephew a qualified rabbi arrived. He is very big on on Jewish history especially the Holocaust but on Monday he is conducting a first trip to the British museum to see the Hebraic rooms and artefacts , the synagogue in Bevis Marks and the East End.
The East End was once the home of 150,000 Jewish people. Now it is totally Bengali and Bangladeshi and just one synagogue exists to meet the requirements of Orthodox Jews working in the City.
The conversation was mainly on the latest TV series Killing Eve and the Bodyguard though Jewish themes dominated. This said there was curiosity and enquiry into my foreign travels as Israel is the destination of preference for those present. I enjoyed the occasion thoroughly as did C the experience.