I remember, when I was living in Shikunei HaElef (Hebrew University dormitory) in Givat Ram (Jerusalem) back in 1986 just how quiet Shabbat was. I lived in the building of the observant girls. A total of 7 of the 20 rooms were occupied and I’d managed to get rid of my roommate by having her upgraded to the better dorms (the Kiryah – yes, I actually went and begged them to give her a room and she was very thankful), so I had a room to myself. I think there was one other girl who wasn’t Israeli-born, but she had a boyfriend who she went to visit on Shabbat and all the other girls went home. I was almost always left in the building completely alone. In fact, most of the buildings were empty over the weekend and the few people who stayed weren’t the ones I’d choose to talk to. I was also significantly younger, being just 17, when most students there were in their 20’s. So I spent Shabbat on my own. I read books, slept a lot and I sang, sometimes for hours. I could sing as loudly as I wanted, since there wasn’t anyone there to hear – and with it being so quiet, I found that singing made me feel less lonely (and hey, it seemed more normal than talking to myself). I don’t remember what songs I sang, but I know it always made me feel happy. In every house I ever lived, I knew where the best acoustics were and even before Hadas was born, I started singing to her. She knew all the words to Leader of the Band by the time she was 4 and we sang it together in a talent contest about then.
After I got divorced, I took voice lessons for a while. My teacher was convinced that I should sing opera. I told her I was willing to try, but she never actually brought me the music. I enjoyed the lessons, but I don’t think I’d ever sing in front of anyone but my family – and I don’t think they care how good my voice sounds, so I stopped taking lessons, but I kept singing to the kids, of course. They know all the songs I love… and if they hear a song on the radio, even Abigail will say, “Is that John Denver?” I often sing to the little kids before they go to sleep (usually they choose the songs – one of the ones Abigail loves is No Wonder – not exactly what you’d expect a 4-year-old to like).
These past few years have been crazy-busy. I just realized that I hadn’t bought a CD for about a year (the last one was a Barbra Streisand one that I didn’t have yet – I have quite a few)… and I realized I enjoy the few songs I know that Sarah McLachlan sings –(like Blackbird & Ordinary Miracle) so I ordered a disk (of course it turned out to be out of stock).
I was thinking about how much I missed having time to listen to music (I mean, who can hear a whole song with 3-4-5-6 kids at home?) and I remembered a tape that I had with this song – but this video is so much better :-)
Shabbat isn’t as quiet as it used to be. I think I kind of miss that sometimes.