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Celebrate snow with Red Wine Beef Stew

#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

In my house, snow is always a cause for celebration. I have loved snow since I was a child, and I have passed that on to my little girl, who screams in excitement at the first snowflake. Every winter I long for blizzards and reminisce about past winters in Boston and Vermont. No food tastes better than something warm and inviting after a romp through the snow. This year, however, the cold is not a welcome friend. Loneliness has set in. We haven’t had company for Shabbat for months. I want my kids to play with your kids while I talk to you about anything other than Daniel Tiger or Peppa Pig. I want to watch the snowfall from my windows with you and serve hot comforting foods and whiskey-spiked cider. I am tired of sitting at a half-empty table, Jewish life wasn’t designed to be lived this way.

There is also evidence that loneliness and social isolation pose serious health risks. Loneliness is now considered as dangerous for your health as smoking. Loneliness is associated with high blood pressure and an increased risk of heart disease. A lack of proper socialization can also deeply affect your mental health. The science is clear, just as we must take steps to protect ourselves from COVID-19 to keep ourselves and others healthy, we must also guard against loneliness and isolation. This can be challenging, and the need to protect from loneliness and social isolation is often portrayed as in conflict with COVID-19 protections. I believe with a little bit of creativity, we can protect against both.

That’s why this week, I am having Shabbat in the Snow. I am inviting friends over, outside. I am lighting a bonfire just before Shabbat candles. I am determined to make Shabbat a joyful communal event that uplifts the soul, even in a pandemic during the middle of winter. Kids will play, adults will chill, and a good time will be had by all. I will wear two pairs of pants to stave off the cold.

There is only one dish that can stand up to the rigors of eating outside in the snow — Beef Stew. Hearty and warm and so deeply satisfying, especially with a chunk of challah dipped into it. This easy dish will allow for a more communal Shabbat, at a safe distance, outside, six feet apart.

With a little creativity and some long underwear, we can still make beautiful Shabbat dinners happen.

Find my recipe for Red Wine Beef Stew here.

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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