A Truly Special Havdalah

By Jeannie Blaustein | Issue Date: January 2012

Havdalah CandleI trekked through a beastly night of winter weather, after 12 hours of snow and slush, to attend the special-needs havdalah service. Excited, I was nevertheless unprepared for the powerful experience that followed. The room was full of families and individuals, so happy to be together. Planned beautifully and with enormous care to ensure that safety, joy, and the BJ spirit would fill the room, the service was uplifting, touching, musical, and inclusive. As Marcelo walked around with the Torah, followed by a parade of loving, energized kids—some in wheelchairs, others holding onto Marcelo’s shoulder, to the yad on the Torah, to Marcelo’s hands, singing and smiling—my eyes welled up with tears. In that moment I understood in a new way how precious it was for these families to celebrate Shabbat communally. I’m so proud that BJ is now partnering with other congregations to meet the deep yearnings of these special families.