Shabbat Shalom…And How We Observe It by Rick London

I’ve always loved Saturdays (at different times in my life for different reasons).  If you’d told me even 4 years ago it was going to be “to observe Shabbat” (or the Sabbath – depending on your language and/or religion), I would have thought you were crazy.  But these days it is because of Shabbat.  Being born reformed Jewish, I never learned much about the religion (it didn’t hold my attention), but neither did much else; probably due to ADHD and numerous other disorders, but these days I find it fascinating and even spiritual at times.


The irony of it all is that my wife Lee got me interested.  Lee was raised Catholic and Episcopalian.  She has maintained her Christian roots, and practices/follows the Jewish faith.  So in her attempt to get me interested in my own religion, she became interested by enrolling in some kind of online Torah study.  I steered clear of it for about six months or so but saw her enjoying learning it and thought, “Why not?”…… My Saturdays are free and I can basically do whatever I want (within reason).

About 3 or so years ago, Lee got us both copies of Rosetta Stone and we both downloaded the Hebrew language study.  We both decided every Saturday we’d do our language study (which is easier said than done).  Though it only takes an hour or less, it is an agonizing hour (unless one is familiar or fluent in Hebrew…we’re neither) so 3 years later we remain on the “core study”; but it’s finally sinking in .

This comes after our Saturday “Torah Portion” which is online (the Rabbi’s summary) and then the actual reading is on Kindle.

Though we don’t partake in our Hebrew each Saturday, we both complete (or in my case attempt to complete) our Torah study.

The main thing we do is unplug from work; and that is a big change.  We used to work all the way through Fridays and Saturdays. Not anymore.  By 2pm Lee has started on her “masterpieces”; several vegan challah loafs, this amazing bread truly only the finest bakers could attempt.  It is in her blood though. She has info on one ancestor who was a well-known baker and one day he went to work….as the President/CEO of one of the largest insurance companies in the country (nobody really knows how that happened, the “promotion” ‘till this day).  But of course things like that do happen.  He must have baked the right person the right bread.

Rick London c20111

So Lee creates this amazing soup (in the winter) or salad in the summer) to go with the challah; and if we don’t have grape juice, we find another juice that is close.

So on Saturday afternoon, after reading the torah study, Lee often reads a book or two (she’s fast at that).  I watch tv and/or play the guitar and sing (in the privacy of my own home) in order not to frighten the horses or small children.

Rick London c2011

I did that today.  I love playing oldies, and now, one doesn’t have to buy the songbooks.  There’s a lot of old songs I never learned in the past but love to play and sing them now.  Today it was Poncho & Lefty, Sandman, Folsom Prison Blues, London Homesick Blues, The Letter, and a few more.  I stop only when my fingers have cuts in them that are about to bleed.

Of course there is the option of “nap time”. At 59, and Lee at 56 (she doesn’t mind telling anyone) and I don’t blame her, as she looks to be about 45 or so (very good genes, eats all the right things and gets more exercise than an Olympic hopeful).  Anyway at our age a good nap can be more exciting than winning the lottery.   And we both got one today (she’s still in the middle of hers).  We’re hiking tomorrow so maybe I’ll take a risk and awaken her.  Ok, maybe not.

And to think, the earliest of my memories is loving Saturdays for morning cartoons.  50 years later it is my excuse not to have to create any (cartoons) or even think about “being funny”.  Sometimes that happens by accident anyway (so says my wife).


Rick London is an author, songwriter, designer and cartoonist.  He is best known for his Londons Times Cartoons ( which he founded in 1997 and has been the number one ranked offbeat cartoons and funny gifts since 2005.  He is married to nature photographer and designer Lee Hiller-London aka Lee Hiller who has the very popular nature and wildlife blog



mar old hippie home


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