Shabbat Shalom: Showing Up

Mar 21, 2024 | Article

By: Bethany Friedlander
PJ Library Manager

This week we begin a new book of the Torah, Vayikra. We open to a new chapter and read about the Israelites, who having made prior mistakes, are obligated to “show up” at the Temple and participate in the sacrifice that was offered to make amends for unintentional sins.

Last Thursday, it felt as if we had woken up to a new moment of glistening white – even after living in Denver for 12 years, it never seems to get old. Snowstorms seem to create a reset, a pause, a new chapter even. As the snow continued to fall throughout the day and our household grew restless from all that quality time together, we headed outside to see what snowy wonders we might find.

With sleds in tow, we walked through our neighborhood parks, observing a wonderland so different from what we usually see. The untouched whiteness was awe-inspiring. The snowballs being thrown and eaten created giggles. Burying each other up to our necks in snow was hysterical. Meeting up with friends to sled topped off the afternoon. We could have spent the afternoon at home finding comfort in the cozy, freshly baked smell of a hamantaschen house, and more work, TV, or personal devices. Instead, we showed up in a new place, together, out of our element, and were present with each other.

I recently read The Amen Effect by Sharon Brous containing simple and powerful stories about living life. What really stuck out was the “showing up” part. The idea of being in the moment. Understanding that there is so much to do, to achieve, to care for, to create, to finish, to learn, to clean, to cook, to work at, to dream of, to shlep to but to take that time to show up at that very moment – that is living.

The recent winter storm with all the whiteness of the untouched snow, created a space to start the day anew. Completing a book of the Torah with the words “Chazak, chazak, v’nitchazek – Be strong, be strong, and let us strengthen one another” and beginning a new book with the word “Vaykira – And he called” gives us the language to listen to the call and take a moment outside of the regular. Both a storm and a new chapter can give us a moment to “show up” and see the world around us as a blank slate for that precious time with ourselves, family, friends, and community.

Snow days can be tricky. It requires us to balance our regular work and responsibilities with the reality of kids being out of school, activities being cancelled and a wide-open park, glistening with shiny white snow calling us to “show up.” I think it’s worth it.

Please email Bethany Friedlander at with questions or comments.