When we first opened our doors at The Learning Center it was 2009. We had seven children, one teacher and one director. I was both. Our first Shabbat was led by Rabbi Mike outside on a blanket. I was so proud to bring the Shabbat candlesticks my grandmother had given me for a wedding shower gift and the needlepoint challah cover my mother had made me was also part of our first Shabbat.
These candlesticks and challah cover have seen a lot over the years! Every Friday for 10 years they have been a part of The Learning Center Shabbat. They were at the Shabbat that Rabbi Mike led before he left for Israel. The kids picked a finger puppet to travel with him. Then Rabbi Mike got up and showed us how he could dance to the then hit song “Happy” by Pharrell Williams. Each year every child’s relationship with the rabbis strengthen as we all celebrate Shabbat every Friday morning. My first grandchild started The Learning Center at two and a half and as we celebrated Shabbat together, the link of the candlesticks and the needlepoint did not go unnoticed.
This year Shabbat was made special in a different way. Rabbi Mike and Rabbi Daniel, through a generous donation, provided each of our families a Shabbat Bag. This gift consisted of two Shabbat candle stick holders, a Kiddush cup, candles, grape juice, the prayers needed for each step and a fresh baked challah. The challah cover will be completed by the kids and brought home when the tye-dye process is completed. The Learning Center received the new candle stick holders and kiddush cup as well. Imagine the excitement as we sat around our Shabbat table, still a seasonal fabric that is long and placed on the floor, and the kids commenting: “I have that at home!” “We use that at our house.”
The feedback from our parents and grandparents was delightful! There were pictures sent showing students at home and their lit Shabbat candles. Some parents reported they invited family over for Shabbat dinner. Children learn by modeling what they see and hear. How wonderful to celebrate Shabbat and build new, special family traditions.
What about my grandmother’s candlesticks and my mother’s needlepoint? Still special, and always nearby. They continue to be a part of my special family traditions.