Shabbat Afternoon with Yehudit & Gail
By J. Kott-Wolle
Oil on Canvas, 30x40, painted 2019
Original photograph taken - 1977
We grew up keeping the Sabbath. Every Saturday morning, I remember putting on a dress, gathering my sticker and stationery collections in a bag and walking with my mother to shul. Sometimes the whole family went and sometimes it was just she and I. Those walks felt like an island in time - the whole world was carrying on with life as usual but we were taking break for the busy-ness of everyday and carving out a 25 hour period of rest (no phones or TV, no commerce, no driving). When we completed the 2 mile walk to Beth Tikvah I’d dart away from her, find my friends in the bathroom or sitting on the sofas in the social hall and joyfully trade fold up notecards or smelly stickers. Occasionally I’d wander into the sanctuary to hug my mom but mostly I avoided that because I was worried she’d make me sit through the very long sermon and service, where I’d be obliged to pray (which I never liked). Little did I know that my mom never expected me to sit through the 2-3 hour long service. Her goal was for me to love being Jewish and to have positive associations with our synagogue. I always wanted to go because it was fun and there were so many kids to play with. After Kiddush my parents’ friends made their way over to our pool for the afternoon. I remember generous servings of watermelon, grapes and cheese Danish and lots of cups of coffee before we got dressed again to go back to the synagogue for Havdalah services and the conclusion of Shabbat.