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Eat, Drink + Think

TweetShabbat: New Year’s Brunch for Shabbat Dinner

#tweetyourshabbat is a global movement founded by Carly Pildis, celebrating the struggle and joy of getting Shabbat on the table every week. This is a place for real dinners and real conversations about Jewish life. Join us at Forward in sharing what you’ll be eating and how your feeling this week at #TweetYourShabbat

French Toast Bread Pudding with berries

French Toast Bread Pudding with berries Image by Carly Pildis

2020 is finally over! We made it through this garbage fire of a year!

Even though our own Jewish New Year is in September, it’s still fun to believe that when the clock strikes twelve we have a chance to start fresh, a little reset between Yom Kippurs. It’s nice to indulge in the idea that our troubles will melt away when the ball drops, and hope that next year we will be partying in person instead of via Zoom.

I plan to spend the evening in my pajamas with my family, hanging out around the fire drinking champagne with a nice cheese plate and some chocolates, letting my kid stay up as late as she likes for once. She’ll probably fall asleep on me before the ball drops, which for once I really want to see. I’ll kiss my husband over her little head and take a sip of champagne. Happy New Year to all.

The difficult times and the terrible years teach us who we really are. It’s easy to be loving or generous or kind when times are good, but this year we all learned who we were in a crisis. Sometimes I liked who that person was, and some days I didn’t. We all had to grow, change and adapt. This crisis will shape who we are as individuals, as families, and as a nation for years to come. 2021 is a chance to move forward, to redeem ourselves, and hopefully have a happy and healthy new year. Life is more fragile than we realized. What do we want to do with that knowledge?

Our situation is precarious. Nearly 3,000 Americans are dying a day, and we could hit 400,000 dead by springtime. While the end of the year feels like a fresh start, in truth we must double down on the fight we started in 2020. Our individualism, a deeply American character trait, is killing us. We need to think about the collective in order to minimize the tragic loss of life in 2021.

This year, New Year’s Day is also Shabbat. A time to rest, to reflect, to enjoy a respite before the hard days ahead. While the end of December can feel weightless as time stretches on without its normal structure, Shabbat grounds us and brings us back to reality. We wake up tired with a champagne headache, and stretch our arms out. No matter what comes in this year, Shabbat always begins Friday at sunset. No matter what tragedies or challenges we face Shabbat will keep us, as long as we keep Shabbat.

The first Shabbat of the year poses a challenge. By dinnertime on New Year’s day, I am usually ready for sleep, and I am way too tired to spend the whole afternoon cooking. The best meal on New Year’s Day is brunch, and so today is the perfect day to serve brunch on Shabbat. French toast bread pudding is perfect for the occasion. It feels luxurious and rich, it’s easy on the cook, and you can eat it in your pajamas. Serve it with berries (feel free to sprinkle those with your leftover champagne) and a bracing bitter salad like arugula or frisee to round out the meal. Mimosas welcomed.

How was your week? How are you spending Shabbat? Let us know at #tweetyourshabbat! Everyone is welcome at this table! Come hungry.

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