Every Friday night, I kiss my husband. No matter how tired we are. No matter what dreadful things we said to each other earlier in the day. No matter what. The kiss is neither perfunctory nor passionate. And yet, even when there are six other people in the room, it is intimate.Yesterday, I took three boxes of books to trade at the big used book store in town. I came home with this book. I've read Diamant's novels The Red Tent (1997), Good Harbor (2001), and Day After Night (2009), so I know she's an excellent writer. I look forward to digging into this book, after I get moved to St. Louis this weekend. Here's a description:
All week long, a kiss is just a kiss. But our Friday-night kiss is something else. It acknowledges a connection that is ultimately as mysterious as any sunset, as sacred as any psalm.
This is a ritual kiss. It takes place in the dining room, immediately after we light two new, white candles and sing the blessing that marks the beginning of Shabbat, the Jewish Sabbath. Candles and kiss are followed by blessings over wine and bread.
Before The Red Tent, before Good Harbor, before and during six books on contemporary Jewish life, Anita Diamant was a columnist. Over the course of two decades, she wrote essays about friendship and family, work and religion, ultimately creating something of a public diary reflecting the shape and evolution of her lifeThe word "Shekhinah," the rabbinic term for God's presence on earth, is from a Hebrew verb meaning "to pitch one's tent" (according to Karen Armstrong's book The Case for God, p. 376). Is this related in any way to Diamant's title? I hope the book gives me a clue. as well as the trends of her generation. Pitching My Tent collects the finest of these essays, all freshly revised, updated, and enriched with new material, forming a cohesive and compelling narrative.
Organized into six parts, the shape of the book reflects the general shape of adult life, chronicling its emotional and practical milestones. There are sections on marriage and the nature of family ("Love, Marriage, Baby Carriage"); on the ties that bind mother and child ("My One and Only"); on the demands and rewards of friendship ("The Good Ship"); on the challenges of balancing Jewish and secular calendars ("Time Wise"); on midlife ("In the Middle"); and on what it means to embrace Judaism in today's culture ("Home for the Soul").
Gilion at Rose City Reader hosts Book Beginnings on Fridays. Click here for today's Mister Linky.