Friday night arrives bringing with it the end of a work week for my wife and me, bringing with it the end of a school week for my daughter, bringing with it two days of potentially but not always more time with both of us for the kids. Friday night arrives and ushers in candlelight and song, kippot and grape juice, tradition and newness. For my wife, this is a small but important piece of our family’s Jewish foundation; for me it is repeated newness when faced with routine ritual and language not of my childhood. And so we make it our own, slowly, and the kids help grow it, too.
One piece that has evolved is appreciations. While the candles flicker and my son plays with his kipa and books he can’t read, my wife, my daughter, and I take turns sharing appreciations of each other. This grounds me in a deep way and opens me to the other parts of the ritual. It brings our own meaning in and connects our family together after our week of running hither and thither. It is brief and bright–the words and the light.