Tot Shabbat

Since she started full-time daycare at the Jewish Community Center, CJ has been going to a Friday morning ceremony called Tot Shabbat (toddler’s sabbath). At home she started singing fragments of the song, including one that involved a dinosaur. “CJ,” I said, “are you sure they sing about a dinosaur at Tot Shabbat?” She insisted they did, so I came one Friday to check it out for myself. And not only was there a dinosaur song, there was a dinosaur puppet that came out just after the candle lighting.

This is child-centered religion, folks. If the ancient Jews had been this family-friendly, Christianity might never have gained a foothold.

The night after I came to Tot Shabbat, CJ asked me to sing the songs at bedtime. “Know the dinosaur song?” she asked. “Know the bim bim song?” But I hadn’t retained them from my single hearing. “Know any shabbat songs?” she asked. And despite being nominally Jewish I must admit I drew a total blank. I used to work as a church organist, though, and the songs I learned then flooded back to me. I found myself singing the crucifixion hymn, “O Sacred Head, Now Wounded,” which in one minute may have undone CJ’s two months of Jewish religious education.

For good measure, I sang it in German.

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