A very personal Shabbat Nachamu

Friday night, I sat around a beautifully prepared Shabbos table with five other women. My dear friend Elizabeth had invited us all, and then spent massive amounts of time making sure everything was perfect. And it was. The food was fantastic – I’m still drooling over the hummus and mushrooms she served – and the company was… well… it’s almost hard for me to put into words how I felt, and still feel, about the women around that table.

As anyone who has read my blog these past eight years knows, I’ve been a seeker for the majority of my adult life. I bounced from one Christian denomination to another, hoping to shoe horn myself into something that fit. I pretended, I tried… heck, I even became someone I don’t recognize for various parts of that journey. And through it all, I never forged any type of relationship that was lasting. In hindsight, it’s hard to cultivate something true when you’re living a lie, but I didn’t know that then, because I couldn’t even admit I was lying to myself.

Friday’s Shabbat was Shabbat Nachamu – or the Shabbat of comfort, which follows the Jewish day of mourning, Tisha B’av, where Jews mourn the destruction of the two temples. So Friday night, sitting around a table with five other Jewish women who have had their own journeys and trials, left me feeling nothing short of… comforted. I wasn’t trying to fit in, I wasn’t seeking, I wasn’t hoping with everything in me that this was it. I was simply being. Content and happy.

Only two of the six women were born Jewish, and the other four, myself included, were products of ether adult or childhood conversions. But none of that mattered. Surrounded by women who were so different from me, yet tied to me by the common thread of Judaism, something that I love and cherish with everything in me, was powerful. And these were smart, talented women. I have yet to meet a Jewish wallflower, and there were certainly none around Elizabeth’s gorgeous Shabbos table.

My Jewish journey has led me to the Women of Reform Judaism (WRJ) and my temple’s Sisterhood group, where I now sit on the board. It has recently led me to join the Tacoma chapter of Hadassah. My goal is to surround myself with the whip-smart, proudly Jewish women I have met at every turn. Friday night was confirmation to me that I’ve made the right choices, and I’m on the right road. Adonai has placed amazing women in my path, and my soul is grateful for it. I’ve actually never been so excited to be me before – just as I am.


4 thoughts on “A very personal Shabbat Nachamu

  1. Though I am a Christ-follower, I admire your journey into Judaism, Rachel. I have an intimate relationship with the God of the OT and the New. Most Jews are still looking for their Messiah. I pray you find Him! ❤️

  2. Rachel it was an absolute joy to share my shabbos table with you. I look forward to many more meals with you and the others over the years. I think that it is sometimes very easy as Reform Jews to get so focused on the Tikkun Olam that we forget about the study, the ritual and the connections. It was a joy to focus on those things… and you know me, if there is no joy in it…

    Now.. for the hummus…
    In a high powered blender combine”
    1 (15 oz.) can garbanzo beans (chickpeas), drained and rinsed
    1 tbsp. water
    4 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
    1 tbsp. lemon juice
    1 garlic clove minced
    3/4 tsp. ground cumin
    1/4 to 1/2 tsp. salt

    Whiz that up till it is silky smooth. Add more olive oil if necessary. Adjust the seasonings a bit to your liking. Smooth and not to thick is key.

    And the mushrooms…
    add a good amount of olive oil to a hot pan then add about a pound and a half of sliced mushrooms. I used baby bellas. Always buy mushrooms that have not “opened” to show their gills – they are freshest. Sprinkle with salt so they will let go of their moisture. When the pan goes dry add more oil as needed (this is very low cal food!) and cook the mushrooms until they develop that beautiful golden fond on the exterior.

    Schmear warm or room temp hummus into a bowl and up the sides, placing the hot mushrooms in the center and there you have it! Seriously, just that with bread would make a fine meal 🙂

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