Young happy woman serving lunch to her family at dining table.When I peek back at my Jewish memories, I see candles, smell chicken soup, taste brisket, crave challah, laugh with my cousins, drink grape juice, eat kugel, and surround myself in love and happiness.


As my mom and bubbe lit candles, my heart would swell, the warm light would usher in the peace of Shabbat. We sat, we washed, we sang, we prayed, we broke bread, we joked, we teased, we fought, we played, we forged lifelong relationships, we learned to love and be happy.

As we grew older, so did our games. We sneaked the wine, sometimes pretended to eat, even bounced our matzo balls on occasion. Our bonds deepened, our love grew, and we were happy for one another. We had our own kids, made our own Shabbat dinners, invited one another. Our kids saw candles, smelled chicken soup, tasted brisket, craved challah, laughed with their cousins, drank grape juice, and ate kugel, surrounding themselves in love and happiness.


Today, even though we live across many continents, we still love and support one another, celebrating and crying together. We get together as often as we can because we were raised together in love and happiness


SUE PENN IS the Director of Congregational Learning at University Synagogue, is known for being an innovative and creative educator. Sue sits on the Board of Directors for JFFSOC and Someone Cares Soup Kitchen. Sue is committed to providing opportunities which allow every individual to learn and engage in community.

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