Some dear friends of ours taught us a tradition that they do with their kids each day after school. It’s called…yup, you got it…three stars and a wish. Instead of asking the kids how their day was, and having them reply with the perfunctory, “fine,” it gives them an opportunity to share a little more information. The kids know that this means they should say three things that were really great about their day, and one thing they wish had been better.
There are other versions of this floating around the parenting world, three roses and a thorn, two yeses and a no, etc…, but I like this one because it reminds me of Shabbat. Shabbat, according to tradition, is a special holy time of the week that begins Friday night, when there are three stars in the sky. It is also traditionally a day of rest, but as anyone with kids (or a rabbinic spouse, for that matter) knows, even on Shabbat there is no real rest for the weary! For us, however, it is a day to slow things down, and maybe take a little time out. We try, as often as possible, to make sure that we spend time together as a family. There is no rushing around to get ready for school in the morning, no fighting over homework, and no schlepping to after school activities in the afternoon. It is time to pause and appreciate all those little things that have made our lives better over the past week.
Each week, after lighting the candles, we give our children a Shabbat blessing. The blessing is the same each week: it asks that our children grow to be like our ancestors that we respect and admire, that they be watched over and protected, and that they find a measure of peace and comfort. Some might even say, it is kind of like our weekly wish for them.
I’ve decided that, in addition to baking challah, I’d like to start a new Shabbat tradition. Each Friday afternoon (at least as often as possible), I’ll be posting three stars and a wish. I’ll be pointing out events, reading material, and things that I found stimulating or that touched me in some way that week. I’ll also be adding a wish, or something that bothered me and that I hope might be different in the future. Call it a little light Shabbat or weekend reading, hopefully for your enjoyment, and perhaps commiseration.
Additional inspiration for this new tradition came from one of my favorite food blogs, The First Mess. At the end of most weeks, its author, Laura Wright, writes a post called “Happy Hour”. Along with another fabulous recipe for a soothing drink (warm in winter, cold in summer), she provides thoughtful commentary and links to things that caught her attention over the preceding week. She includes everything from newly discovered products, to interesting articles, to books and cookbooks. If Shabbat were actually a peaceful, restful time in our house, I would absolutely pour myself a cup of comfort, find a cozy spot to curl up and dig into her reading list. But, since at this stage of our lives, this is mostly impossible, I thought some of you readers might do it for me…and for you too, of course! And so, my first star this week goes to The First Mess and her most recent Happy Hour post. (P.S. I can’t wait for her new cookbook!)
My second star goes to a thoughtfully written article on another awesome blog, Civil Eats, by some of the most engaging authors in the food world, including Mark Bittman and Michael Pollan. To be honest, I considered putting this as my wish, as it expresses a great many concerns about the future of food in this new presidential era. However, it is also an inspiring call to action, so I decided to list it as a positive. You can find the article here.
Lastly, my third star this week goes to…(drumroll, please)…the Girl Scouts, celebrating 100 years of selling cookies. We all know they aren’t health food, but who cares? They are so yummy and nostalgic, and their profits go to a fantastic cause. My personal fave (still): thin mints left in the freezer. And, did you know they added a gluten free variety?
And finally, something I wish could be different…seriously, how could I possibly be expected to choose after the week we’ve had?? With the inauguration of President Trump (ugh…still hurts to even type the words…), I can’t help but feel that so many aspects of the life we treasure, food and farm policy, public health, the environment, multiculturalism, (shall I go on?) are all under threat. Since this is my first post of this type, and I did say I would pick just one, I’ll choose one that outlines in bullet points all the crazy shit (sorry, profanity is actually called for here!) that has happened in just the first week. Gonna be a long four years…I’ll try not to focus on Trump every week. Oy!