It’s another Thursday night in the Holy Land and I am barefoot in the kitchen braiding my hallahs. It took several Youtube videos, finding the right consistency of egg to bread (it used to look like little omelets on the top of my hallah), but I have finally mastered the art that is hallah making. It is my favorite part of the week. The kids are asleep, the house is being cleaned (thank you to my husband) and I am cooking up a storm of Shabbat meal treats. There is a warm feeling that comes with the mixing. Not just the oven and the summer heat, but a warmth that your soul can feel. Normally the house is quiet. Peaceful. Tonight I hear the sounds of helicopters and loud booms. Tonight there are riots in my Jerusalem neighborhood. And while my hallahs bake and bring with it the smell of Shabbat, we are far from Shalom. I continue baking, cooking, checking Facebook, the news, and texting my neighbors who can see the police swat teams from their homes. Updates include information about grenades, fires, and the police keeping things under a chaotic control. When I turn off the oven, the clock ticking passed midnight, I realize there is silence once again. This Thursday I cherish that silence a bit more. It is not just warmth but the air of normalcy. I wonder to myself how long this quiet will last. Or has the noise moved on to another neighborhood? Will my guests gather around our Shabbat table or will they be stuck inside their homes due to the rising tensions? Will my hallah still taste as good or is there a bitterness that taints even the most scared and holy of days? It’s another Thursday night in the Holy Land and I am barefoot in the kitchen braiding my hallahs. Tonight I am not worried about the consistency of egg to bread. I am worried about the consistency in life. I am looking forward to returning to quiet, passed the days of violence, hatred and loud booms. For now, I am looking forward to a Shabbat Shalom for us all. The ratio may be off but it’s exactly what we need.
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