Join the Resistance by Mary Sharratt

“Rest is resistance,” journalist Cassady Rosenblum wrote in her recent essay in the New York Times , entitled “Work is a False Idol.”

This statement completely undermines our American work ethic that elevates productivity to the highest altar. Rosenblum, a journalist who left a high stress job, wrote lyrically of the happiness she discovered just sitting on her parents’ porch in West Virginia. Some of her readers were up in arms—how dare she hang out on a porch when she could be working? Who does she think she is? Rosenblum received such a bashing in the comments section, you’d think she was Marie Antoinette torturing puppies.

Rest is a four-letter word, as un-American as Communists were in the 1950s. If you want to provoke the rage of strangers on the internet, publicly praise the joys of taking a sabbatical.

Continue reading “Join the Resistance by Mary Sharratt”

Dreaming of Sabbatical by Grace Yia-Hei Kao

In the midst of doing last-minute shopping, decorating, and entertaining for the holidays, I find myself on the eves of Christmas and New Year furiously trying to meet several important work deadlines. While burning the candle at both ends writing and grading, I also find myself from time to time breaking out in a wry smile. The reason? I get to start out the New Year with a one-semester sabbatical leave.
Continue reading “Dreaming of Sabbatical by Grace Yia-Hei Kao”


I attended a service at Congregation Shalom in Chelmsford, MA two Fridays ago.  During the service, Rabbi Shoshana Perry spent a few minutes addressing the last word of a Hebrew prayer found in the Reform siddur, Mishkan T’filah.  It was translated in the siddur as “God rested” but the Hebrew word used was vayinafash, which comes from the word nefesh, or soul.  The prayer emphasizes on the seventh day that God did not rest as much as God took time out to re-soul.  Rabbi Perry believes that our Shabbat should be spent doing things that help us also re-soul.

Initially, I spent quite a long time considering why God would need to re-soul and what exactly God would do to re-soul.  When I realized the futility of trying to sort that out, I moved a little closer to home: what do I do on Shabbat to re-soul?  I was quite overwhelmed trying to answer this question as well.

Traditionally, Shabbat is about study, rest, prayer and family among other things.  In fact, many Jews avoid creative processes like writing, cooking, painting, driving and working because God rested from creative work on the seventh day.  (Incidentally, our creativity is also how we are considered to be made in the image of God).  Part of the reason this idea struck me so deeply is because I often find painting, cooking and writing rejuvenating. Continue reading “RE-SOULING ON SHABBAT BY IVY HELMAN”

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