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The Seventh Day Stretch

07/11/2019 11:29:22 AM


Beth Schafer

A few weeks ago, some friends and I went to a Braves game. None of us are particularly huge baseball fanatics, but we thought it would be fun summer thing to do together. Needless to say, there was a lot of kibitzing going on throughout the game. Our attention vacillated between the field and each other. The uninvited guests of the evening were the heat and humidity which was even by Atlanta standards pretty gross. This prompted my friends to suggest that we leave, but I asked if we could just stay another inning through the seventh inning stretch. “Why?”my friends asked. My answer, “Because it is when everyone sings ‘Take Me Out to the Ballgame,’ and that’s important to me, I replied.” Now Take Me Out to the Ball Game is not an end-all be-all piece of music, but it is an important one because of how it brings the crowd together in a uniquely American way. In an age where even watching a TV show is no longer a synchronized shared experience, singing at the ballgame represents one of the few opportunities for us to be present and in sync as an American community.

Of course, in Judaism we have that opportunity every week. Shabbat is the ultimate shared experience. We don’t DVR Shabbat and do it on our own in the wee hours of the night. We don’t do Shabbat in our car or on the train on the way to something else. Observing Shabbat is an opportunity for everyone, regardless of how different our schedules might be to come together for sharing, for being present, for taking part - in a service, a song, a meal or a visit. Shabbat is the seventh day stretch.

I don’t think I’ll be playing Take Me Out to the Ballgame in any services any time soon, but would love to sing Sh’ma with you any week you might be able to join us. That is a shared experience that I look forward to all the time.

Shabbat Shalom,


Wed, February 19 2020 24 Sh'vat 5780