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Together again – This calls for sheet cake this Shabbat

#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

I have been dreaming of this day for months. It’s finally here. The day we can be together again.

I come from a big close knit family. Every birthday, holiday, and Shabbat dinner apart I have missed them very much. I’ve been brushing away the pain of their absence with the promise that today would come. I promised myself I would hug my Dad, I would kiss my Mom, my brother would toss my daughter in the air and I’d listen to her laugh and laugh. Deep down, I feared it would never come, that it would be stolen away from us. It was stolen away from friends, it was stolen away from the families of over half a million Americans.

Now it’s finally here, we are all fully vaccinated. We are gathering together for my father’s 75th birthday. We will celebrate our first Shabbat together in many months.

After every cousin has been tossed in the air – even the bat mitzvah-aged one, after the pandemic puppy has been cuddled, after the kisses and big hugs, it will just be us. It will be six cousins sleeping in a giant nest of sleeping bags and stuffed animals, having exhausted each other.

It will be talking politics with my sister, having a bourbon with my brother, taking a long walk with my Dad as we discuss gardening.These moments will be so small and yet somehow monumental and deeply meaningful. After so long apart, the smallest moments feel the biggest and most beautiful, the most full of joy.

Which is why a simple sheet cake is perfect. I want it to feel special, but easy. I can’t spend too much time baking — I need to hear about favorite school subjects, summer camps dreams, and play hide and seek. I need to dance in a family jam session with kids who do not know how to play their instruments anything but loudly. After so much time apart, I am only willing to be away from the party for a few moments at a time.

In another year we might have celebrated my Dad’s big Birthday Shabbat with a trip to Florida or celebrated with a huge BBQ with extended family. Now, we are just grateful that my parents, my brother and my sister and all of our children are all together. There is nothing we need but each other…and some cake.

Click here for the full recipe: Brown sugar sheet cake with chocolate labneh frosting.

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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