TGIS – Thank G-d it’s Shabbat!: Read How A TV Actress Appreciates This Awesome Holy Day!

Hey KS Fans,
Recently I came across Mayim Bialik on a fantastic fun  Jewish themed  parenting site called Kveler.com. For those of you who don’t know her, Mayim Bialik is best known for her portrayal of the young Bette Midler in 1989′s “Beaches” and went on to star in the popular sitcom “Blossom” from 1990-1994. Bialik holds a Ph.D. in Neuroscience, has two young children, is the spokesperson for the Holistic Moms Network and currently appears as Amy Farrah Fowler on “The Big Bang Theory.”

In the 90′s I remember seeing her, and knowing that she was Jewish, was fascinated that a Jewish girl around my age was acting on  TV. Being a huge Drama Queen myself – in the sense of loving anything to do with plays, musicals etc.. and heading and starring in many a production both in camps and schools – I always wished I could do it “when I grew up”. But this dream was one I knew would never come to fruition because it was not the place or life for a frum Jewish girl.

So when years later I came across her blog on Kveler I was once again fascinated to find out that not only was Mayim Bialik  still around acting in a popular TV series that I do not watch,  but more importantly has become a religious Shabbat observant Jew.

I am enamored by Mayim’s Dedication to Judiasim. How her connection with Yiddishkeit  grew stronger and stronger as she grew older and started her own family resonates deep with me, even though I have been Frum From Birth. Whenever I hear any story of someone becoming a Ba’al T’shuvah, it always seems remarkable to me ,that particular persons strength and commitment – to something I sometimes take for granted.


Reading this article Mayim wrote on why she keeps shabbat made me stop and say Yes – I am so lucky to be a Jew. Her thoughts and reasons for keeping shabbat,  reiterated to me the importance,  the ULTIMATE PRIVILEGE I have weekly observing Shabbat!

Just to make it clear to you all – I am not questioning my faith or observance by any means, but like everything in life, things that come easy for us, sometimes are not appreciated as much as things that we have to work at.

Because I have always been religious my perspective on spending a day not doing “normal” daily life activites – like turning on lights and answering phones  -is no big deal – Mayims perspective is coming from a person who has to work at it a little harder than I do  – which in turns makes me appreciate Shabbat through her eyes all the more that I so already do.

Shabbat is something so awesome that there are literally weeks that on tuesday I pray for it to come quick so I can take a break from all the week’s stress I have looming in front of me.

In light of recent tragic events, I am so grateful to be a Jew, so grateful that the peace of Shabbat will soon be here and that the chaos and turmoil of this week can be somewhat quieted. I am grateful that Hashem has given us this gift of a day, so we can be close to our families, and celebrate this wonderful day in togetherness without Life’s daily distraction. That we can reflect on this past week and pray that this Shabbat  will bring even a smidgen of some nechama (peace) for the family in mourning who has been in nothing but pure chaos and turmoil the whole week.

May we all be worthy to spend the next Shabbat In Yerushalyim.

Gut Shabbos! Shabbat Shalom!
I have posted below Mayim’s article for all of you KS fans to Enjoy.
Jul 13 2011

Why Mayim Bialik Celebrates Shabbat

By Mayim Bialik at 9:46 am

Mayim makes challah with her sons. 

You know those advertisements for races for various causes? The ones where happy participants in a 10K race bravely declare to the cameras: “I’m doing it for my mom/sister/brother/father/partner”?

Well, if I were making a video about why I run the marathon of 25 hours of potential bliss known as Shabbat, I would declare the following: “I’m doing it for my kids.”

Let me explain. Shabbat is an island of stillness in a week of frenetic movement, a respite in the madness of our culture’s obsession with consuming, creating, spending, making, and doing. Shabbat is a day of simply, gloriously, and beautifully just being. We are, after all, human beings, not human doings.

I’d like to say that I live by the codes of goodness, simplicity, acts of charity, and patience for my high needs children. Even though I want to believe that I live for those things and those things only, what mostly goes on during the week is emails, Facebook, and scheduling both playdates and show business appointments and press, and the occasional gchat session. Okay, more than occasional. Anyway. This all boils down to my relationship with my Blackberry. I am truly bonded and enthralled with that piece of amazing technology that I can take anywhere, use anywhere, and that transforms every mall bathroom, car ride, and walk down the street into my work station.

Oh, how I love that Blackberry!

On Shabbat, I make a 25 hour commitment to shut it all down and bring it all to a halt. Sometimes it’s a screeching halt, and the clash of the life of my crazy busy hectic week with the stillness of Shabbat can feel scary and intimidating and so darn… quiet. Friday nights pass relatively easily, though, since we go straight from shutting it all down to lighting it all up with candles and blessing our kids and a nice big meal.

On Friday nights, I give myself the gift of going to sleep when my kids do. In all honesty, without a computer, Blackberry, or even the CD player or my iPod available to entertain and distract me, what fun is it staying up anyway? And this way, at least for one day of the week, I don’t wake up feeling like I just pulled an all nighter. (As an aside, all-nighters when they are spent drinking, smoking, dancing, and making out with a man under the age of 30 are so much more fun than the feeling of an all-nighter as a mom that comes simply from nursing every 2 hours from 7pm until 7am, with me only sleeping the 2 hour stretches between midnight and 5 am.)

It’s on Saturday mornings that I get my first reminder that it’s really Shabbat. I can’t hit that little delicious little power button on my laptop or turn on my Blackberry to see who wants me, needs me, or loves me (what, is that weird to say!?) and I get to just be with my kids. I make them breakfast and settle down to play with them. Really play with them. No interruptions, no excuses. My focus is on the present; no email to check, no gchats to keep up with, and nothing more important than seeing what the world can be like without those distractions. Sometimes we walk to Temple (the closest one is a 45 minute walk), but usually we stay home and have guests over for lunch. Sometimes I nap and we play some more and then eat the third meal of Shabbat before bedtime.

On Shabbat, I make special treats like vegan onion dip (party!) and vegan white flour challah (look out now!) and sometimes I don’t even insist that my boys eat more than challah and grape juice (I know, call Child Protective Services). In the seasons when daylight savings allows our kids to experience the end of Shabbat before it’s bedtime, we fire up an elaborately braided Havdallah candle and let the boys witness the separation Jews honor between the sacredness of Shabbat and the rest of the week. We sing Eliyahu HaNavi and we sing it like we mean it.

And when I spot three stars appear in the nighttime sky, a gazing which always brings me to tears–how many Jews have done exactly what I am doing now?!–I take a deep breath and I hit that power button. I fire up the Blackberry and I reenter the world of doing until the next Shabbat, when I shut it all down all over again.

I didn’t grow up observing the Sabbath and I am still working on understanding the best ways to implement a Shabbat experience in accordance with Jewish Law that works for our family. But I know that Shabbat gives me and my kids a tremendous gift: the gift of me existing for 25 hours unable to say, “In a minute,” “Not now,” “Let me check my email,” or “After I post this on Facebook.” That gift is truly a blessing; one that I work hard for every week. And it’s a blessing that I forget to value, and I am grateful–infinitely grateful to get to renew that blessing every week until I get it right.


For more great blogs by Mayim Bialik visit her on www. Kveller.com

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