The Power of the Pinch

I spent Friday night with some powerhouse women.  We thought critically about who we are.  We spoke about trusting our guts, having confidence in our values and the communities we seek to be a part of.  Grape juice flowed, challah abounded, and heartfelt wishes of ‘Shabbat Shalom’ were shared.

I spent Friday night at sorority recruitment.

These two sets of statements may feel at odds with each other but in fact, they were perfect partners, layered one on top of the other.  Each week, I connect with community members on the deep equation we are always trying to solve at Hillel – how do we best meet the beautiful challenge of supporting students in the moments they are encountering (politically, spiritually, stressfully) with the deep Jewish values they all hold to be true.  When we do the math correctly, the solution is astonishing; I was blessed to see this in action on Friday night.

I have spent my college years and career at urban universities, admittedly sometimes struggling with the Greek life system.  The social worker & mother in me believes in the product but not always the process.  But on Friday night, I felt magic.  During the break from rush, I was enveloped in a swirl of black shirts, hundreds of women taking a breath from a whirlwind of conversations.  I walked from one group to another and caught woman after woman off-guard; they were lost in a moment and I interrupted the moment with Shabbat.  But instead of annoyance, I was greeted with gratitude.  Yes, it is Shabbat!  Yes, Shabbat belongs to me!  Each took a small pinch of challah, an act of radical intention packaged in a small bite.  Intention – whether around stopping one’s life for 25 hours for Shabbat or 25 seconds – is a powerful force we all possess.

How can we all bring a metaphorical pinch of challah into our lives, pausing to recognize our values in life’s hectic moments?

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