Celia Goldfarb, of Chevy Chase, MD, was the winner of the Fall 2015 Photo Contest. She is a member of Temple Sinai in Washington, DC and an active participant in NFTY-MAR. Here, she describes the inspiration for her winning photo.
What is Havdalah? A time to welcome a new week and a time to say goodbye to the week that has now disappeared. Goodbyes are never easy; anyone who has left EIE can tell you that. So we take a time in the week, a ceremonial time, to formally recount the past week, and to formally reflect. Havdalah is a chance to start fresh; the aromatic spices relax us before we begin, once again, another hectic, busy week. The wine (or grape juice) symbolizes sweetness and joy. The candle illuminates the approaching night and reminds us that even in times of darkness, no matter what happens in the upcoming week or what has happened in the
weeks past, there is always and there always will be
a source of light.
Havdalah was always my favorite part of Shabbat on EIE. Since my first participation in NFTY freshman year, Havdalah has been special to me. Therefore, when we took the opportunity a few times throughout the semester to perform our Havdalah ceremony on top of the tel at Tzuba at sunset, looking over the remnants of the layers of civilizations that existed before us, Havdalah was even more powerful than it had ever been.
The tel was always a source of serenity for me; I would go when I was feeling stressed or just needed a break. But on this Havdalah, the sunset was breathtaking and our voices were carried far away by the first brisk Israeli winds of the season. On this Havdalah, I, for the very first time, realized that I was in love with Israel, and in love with the people I got to experience it with.