This article was written in partnership with, and originally posted on, Ritual Well’s blog.
Sometimes, the hardest thing about observing rituals is not choosing or creating the rituals themselves: it’s about making time for them. We may be super well-intentioned. We may crave the mindfulness and connections that come with a ritually engaged life. But the hectic pace of everyday schedules have a tendency to get in the way of even the best intentions.
Fortunately, Jewish tradition has within it a sacred ritual that rolls around once a week: Shabbat. Whether one is traditionally observant of Jewish law or not, Shabbat’s rituals of prayer and family, song and rest, offer a time and space to stop, take a deep breath, and plug into something more meaningful than the daily grind.
Shabbat also offers the perfect time to reflect about the larger issues in our lives and the lives of our neighbors. Through our campaign, Turn the Tables, Repair the World is working to build upon Shabbat’s ritual base to add an additional level of significance. Our Turn the Tables dinners – special meals hosted and attended by individuals across the country (hint: YOU!) – carve out time to raise complex issues that challenge our vision of a just society.
This year, as MLK Day – a day celebrating the life and civil rights legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King – approaches, the focus of our Turn the Tables dinners is racial justice. It is a massive topic, and massively important, as evidenced by the constant cycle of stories of injustice that dominates our news feeds today.
There’s no way that one dinner, or even 10,000 dinners, can forever fix the cycle of injustice. But it is a fine place to start. Turn the Tables dinners open up a space for respectful, passionate, and structured conversations about racial injustice in America and beyond. They are fully supported (Repair the World offers tons of resources and activities to help facilitate the dinner). And each host gets to put their own spin on the meals. By setting aside this sacred time for reflection on one of the more urgent topics that grips our nation today, you can honor the legacy of MLK while observing an ancient Jewish tradition that is meant to bring meaning to our lives.
Get Involved! Host a Turn the Tables dinner in your community. You’ll provide your friends and neighbors with the opportunity to plug into ritual, and might just come away from dinner both full and inspired.