Havdalah as a Light to the Community

As beautiful a study as I’ve ever seen of Havdalah! I am reposting it on Coffee Shop Rabbi as a vision of what’s possible.

Hardcore Mesorah

Reflections and Lessons from the Havdalah Circle of Boyle Heights

Dare to make anyplace a sacred space! Havdalah at the 6th Street Bridge, overlooking the city. Dare to make anyplace a sacred space! Punk rock Havdalah with Shmueli Gonzales and Jesse Elliott. Los Angeles.

As Shabbat comes to an end, I always make my way back towards the town and people I love. Towards the arches which over the years have become know as my station and post. And leaning against the metal arches of the bridge, high upon the Los Angeles Sixth Street Viaduct, I bask in the final and lingering rays of the Sabbath’s sun. And then I wait. Wait for the sun to set. I wait, for my buddies to count the stars and declare that it’s time. “One… two… three stars… it’s time!”

And then out from my ubiquitous bag I take these items. A Hebrew prayerbook, a dried etrog and clove…

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Rabbi Ruth Adar is a teaching rabbi in San Leandro, CA. She has many hats: rabbi, granny, and ham radio operator K6RAV. She blogs at https://coffeeshoprabbi.com/ and teaches at Hamaqom | The Place in Berkeley, CA.

4 thoughts on “Havdalah as a Light to the Community”

  1. Thank you Rabbi, I’m touched to know this message resonates with others! When I write pieces like this sometimes I worry that I’ve waxed too hometown boyish and nostalgic. That I’m focusing to much on my the micro-community of my obscure hometown. I’m glad the message is something others can also take home with them too. 🙂


    1. I write primarily for beginners in the community, and it’s good for them to see that there are lots of ways to be an observant Jew. I love this particular piece because it’s so clear that you love your hometown and your practice is rooted in your place and your web of friends, in your real life.

      It’s easy to teach people how to do things the way I do them, but I love letting them see that no one teacher’s way is the only or even the best way. Judaism spans millennia and the entire earth: ideally they will each find their community, their town, their ways of being observant.

      Also you are a darn fine writer, and it is a pleasure to share your work with my audience! I hope some of them will become regular readers of your blog.


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