By Miranda Jones
When I decided to spend my junior year of college in Jerusalem, I had visions of finding the Jewish me that had eluded my Montana-based childhood. Of course, things never work out the way you think and I realized that – in spite of the late-onset bat mitzvah I was talked into by many well-meaning religious friends – I was not going to become a super Jew. Instead of attending temple, I found myself falling into a different ritual altogether, a rhythm inspired by the city during Shabbat.
On Friday afternoons, I would join the crowds at the shuk (open-air market) to pick out the best looking half-plucked chickens, then queue up to buy bouquets of flowers, finding my place in line behind a flank of black-hatted men. Back at my campus’ communal kitchen, a couple friends and I would make dinner together, light the candles, fumble through some prayers. And then we’d just sit together. Those evenings became my home away from home, a touchstone that grounded me. Although I was never able to exactly replicate it back in the States, Shabbat was my favorite souvenir from Jerusalem, and if enjoying cooking and sharing a meal with good friends is the barrier to entry, then I pass the Jew test with flying colors.
How can you take home with you wherever you go?
What is the most valuable new ritual you've brought home from a trip?
Miranda Jones is a writer, editor, and one-half of the brother/sister furniture-designing duo Galanter & Jones.