What’s Danish about Shabbat?

by Debby Kinman-Ford

As I get ready to open my own school, I have spending a fair amount of time looking at what is happening around the world in early childhood, and I am stuck by the appeal of a Danish concept called Hygge. Hygge (pronounced hoo-gah) is a lifestyle of coziness and self-care. During the long winter months in Denmark, the idea of curling up with a good book, taking a nap, making a cup of tea or taking a walk are all ways to embrace the Hygge lifestyle. As I was exploring ways to translate Hygge into Florida in the summer, I found things like camping, watching the ocean waves, and eating ice cream. It occurred to me as I was looking at all these ideas, which relax me just thinking about them, I thought about making challah for Shabbat tonight. I was struck by the ways in which Hygge and Shabbat have a lot in common.  It is the idea of being in the present and unplugging. We are so fortunate to have Shabbat every week as a reminder to regroup, relax and recharge. Whether it is walking to synagogue, reading a torah commentary or just enjoying the stillness of a Saturday, Shabbat allows us to build in Hygge into our lives every week. I hope as you enter into Shabbat this week you consider how to add the Hygge lifestyle into your routine. The more we embrace the stillness and slow down the more we are ready to charge up again as the week begins anew.

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