The Deronda Review

a journal of poetry and thought

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Shabbat in Jerusalem

                                   by Beverly Mach Geller


Each Friday

centuries old traditions­

cleaning, cooking, baking

bathing - spiritual purity

coins put aside for charity.

Wearing holiday attire

families await

The royal Bride, The Queen, Shabbat.


At sunset

rumbling trucks, screeching cars

come to rest,

stores and restaurants, shuttered.

The Sabbath siren sounds

heralding the holy hour.

Candle lighting welcomes its beloved

Shabbat the Queen.


Evening prayers

greetings of Shabbat Shalom

linger in the air, mingle

with aromas of chicken soup

cholent, kugel, cake,

perfume of flowers.


Voices in song

drift through windows, blend

with hymns

of love and praise for God

to Shabbat, L'cha Dodi - Come My Dear One ...

to Mother, Ayshes Chayil - Woman of Valor. ..

a blessing for each child,

Sabbath candles, challah, wine.


Remember the Sabbath day

in your heart and soul with joy

and love and inner peace.

Sabbath peace stretches

through Saturday.


Murmur of voices at morning prayers,

families strolling home for midday meals

graced by guests, as in Abraham's tent,

chatter of children, shouts, laughter,

playful breezes teasing

clothing left on the line.


Released from weekday routines, some nap.

Car cluttered streets transform

into promenades

parents push baby carriages

swings fly on playgrounds

teenagers meet at youth groups

boys flirt, girls pretend not to notice

friends visit - entire neighborhoods are kin

tea, coffee, cake, conversation.


For others, thoughts turn inward:

self improvement

help heal the world

come closer to God.

In homes and synagogues

Bible study - Jewish law lingered over

discussion groups - a yearning for peace, beauty, mercy

a redeemer, the coming of Moshiach.


A leisurely meal

evening prayers

three stars in a darkened sky

the Sabbath Queen departs.


Marking the close of Shabbat,

dividing it from weekdays,

the family gathers at home

for the havdalah ceremony.


A blessing, the father fills

a wine cup, overflowing,

signifying abundance and joy.


A blessing, the spice container,

passed for each to smell,

recalls the fragrance of Shabbat.


A blessing, Father kindles

a braided multi-wick havdalah candle

held by hand or special candlestick

in a darkened room

dividing dark from light,

symbolizing Light, God's first creation

and Fire, to benefit mankind.


A blessing, Father snuffs the havdalah candle

in the saucer with wine

from the cup that runneth over.

Families and friends embrace

to wishes of shevuah tov, a good week

in song and greeting.


Your stones, O Jerusalem,

have seen civilizations rise and fall

and have come full circle.

Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem

eternal Sabbath peace.




Shabbat:  Sabbath, from Friday’s sundown to Saturday’s sundown

Shabbat shalom:  traditional greeting, Sabbath peace

cholent:  meat, vegetable and bean stew

kugel:  traditional pudding-like food of potatoes or noodles

Moshiach: Messiah


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