Rabbi Elyse Winick

Shabbat went from something I did to somewhere I dwelled

Director of Arts and Culture
Boston, MA
A Jewish Perspective (Conservative)

My first Shabbat as an undergrad I took all of that week’s reading out to the main quad. I was overwhelmed and thought if I read the smallest book first, that would motivate me to do the rest. I looked up when I turned the final page of the slim volume and the sun was setting. An entire afternoon had passed and I was unaware, so deeply had I been pulled into The Sabbath.

In that moment, Shabbat went from something I did to somewhere I dwelled. The other six days of the week changed too, seen through the lens of the seventh. I didn’t know then that I was on a path to the rabbinate. I didn’t know that it would become a passion for me to teach Heschel’s words in the hopes of opening that same portal for others. I didn’t know that I would come to see the work of justice as sacred and holy. But not a day passes that I don’t feel the imprint of Heschel’s words on my life. Awe and wonder are with me daily, in spite of the brokenness of the world.

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