A Secular Feminist Embraces Shabbat

The first time I observed Shabbat according to the laws of the Torah, it snowed in the desert.

There was a certain degree of irony there—that hell had frozen over, and now I was celebrating the Sabbath in the home of an Orthodox friend. 

I was anxious in the hours leading up to sundown, watching large, wet snowflakes blanket the cactus in my front yard. It was the kind of anxiety that comes with imposter syndrome—all my Jewish celebrations had thus far involved a wide margin of error. My partner and I didn’t worry much about saying all the right prayers in the right order, because our practices were secular expressions of our shared culture, not an expression of religious devotion.