Mrs. Moskowitz and the Sabbath Candlesticks by Amy Schwartz is a charming children’s story about a grandmother who gives up the house she raised her family in and moves into an apartment. Mrs. Moskowitz is reluctant about the move and declares that the apartment will never be her home.
When she finds her Sabbath candlesticks, warm memories of the years gathered round her table on Shabbat fill her with comfort and a little longing, too. Mrs. Moskowitz polishes the candlesticks. When she sets the sparkling candlesticks on the table, she decides to clean that, too. Then she mops the floor and scrubs the cabinets. Before she knows it, her moving boxes are unpacked, and her apartment looks better than she had ever imagined it would look.
She rings up both her children and invites their families over for dinner on Friday. As she kneads the challah dough, she remembers making challah with her mom when she was a little girl and then thinks about the times she made challah with her children. And she considers the future. When her children and grandchildren arrive with many hugs, kisses, Shabbat Shaloms, and how nice your apartment looks, Mrs. Moskowitz manages a Welcome to my…home.
They say home is where the heart is. I was thinking about this story as I led the challah making activity at our synagogue on Sunday. The tagline at our synagogue is Your home for Jewish living, learning, and loving. I sure do a lot of living, learning, and loving there. And then there is my actual home where in addition to living, learning, and loving, I do a lot of scrubbing, cleaning, cooking, and laundry—yet there’s no place like it.