Friday night is a festive occasion—a time to slow down, eat well, sing, and engage deeply with one another. Traditionally, we welcome the Sabbath bride by lighting candles, reciting Kiddush, and saying a blessing over challah. We bless the children among us and some of us turn to bless each other. We sing a song to welcome angels and welcome guests to our table. Some people find Shabbat peace in simply joining together to watch a movie or play a game. As we gather with loved ones or take time for ourselves, Friday night offers us the opportunity to look back on the week that has passed. We begin to slow down and unwind as we open to the peace of Shabbat.
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My father brought a tradition to our Friday night dinners. It was an opportunity to convey his love and hopes for his children—in particular, the hope that Jewish values would be important to us.