One of the members of our team is Jewish and he will be taking the afternoon off for sabbath.
As I spoke to him about sabbath, I realised I don’t actually know anything about Judaism. In school we concentrated on Christianity and Islam as our two R.S. topics. I have a two Jewish friends – both who are spiritual but not what they would call traditional Jewish. One is gay. And the second leads the pro-Palestinian BDS movement. (I would just like to point out here that I am not equating being Jewish with being pro-Israeli).
As I asked him about the sabbath he described the prayers which are followed by meals with the whole family. The idea touched me as being so beautiful and grounding. I am very close to my family and though we spend hours chatting, our schedules mean we rarely eat together. And there’s something unique about eating together in the way it brings people together. It reminds me of Ramadan when we would all sit in a circle on the floor, sharing stories about our day, patiently waiting to break our fast. How lovely to be able to replicate that weekly.
He is visibly Jewish and I am visibly Muslim. Even though we never discussed it, I feel like a sense of solidarity with him. It must be hard to have to explain why you’re taking time off followed by the same questions again and again. I, too, am guilty of putting him through that. I respect him for his patience and the smile on his face as he explained – again. It’s nice to be around someone at work who’s faith is just as important to them as mine is to me.