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Another pandemic holiday via livestream. At least there are lamb chops.

#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

For millions of us, Purim 2020 was our last normal day.

We wore costumes and drank and ate hamantaschen with our friends. My daughter and I jumped into a rainbow bounce house with her best friend and his mother and we laughed and laughed, flying through the air.

There is a picture of her with Clorox wipes, wiping the handicap rails in the synagogue. She has found a box by the door, left for any nervous congregants.

That was Monday. By Friday, she was clinging to me in her classroom as her teacher and I explained that school was closing for a few weeks because of a very big cold that was spreading. Don’t be scared, her teacher calmly soothed her. You’re going to have some extra fun Mommy time for the next two weeks! I promised we would blow bubbles and make rainbows with the garden hose. We drove home through downtown Washington and the streets were empty. A great hush had fallen.

We never stepped foot in that classroom again.

Spiced lamb shoulder chops with pomegranate and mint

Spiced lamb shoulder chops with pomegranate and mint Image by Carly Pildis

It has been one year, at least in Jewish time, since our last normal day. This is the beginning of a new stage in the psychological part of the battle against the pandemic. We are entering a stage of trauma anniversary. Many of us will experience increased sadness, anxiety, panic attacks, and deep grief. It’s important to know that this is a well-documented phenomenon and you didn’t do anything wrong to cause it. You can take steps to cope in a healthy way and should reach out for help and support. As we fight the pandemic, we must in turn prioritize mental health. Pay attention to how you and those you love are feeling and coping. It’s okay to need help.

Trauma is a central part of the Jewish story. It is ingrained in our history and in our own families. We learn the stories and pass them down. We learn the foods and the songs and we learn about resilience, community, and the power of our tradition to heal and sustain us. As Purim closes and Shabbat begins, I’ll be cooking lamb with pomegranate and mint, a nod to the holiday’s Persian roots. As my house fills with the smell of cumin, mint, sumac, and lamb, I’ll feel comfort and relief that this particular Purim has passed. I’ll light the candles, take a deep breath and exhale.

Click here for my Spiced lamb shoulder chops with pomegranate and mint recipe.

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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