Shabbat Shalom

Gloria Anzaldua writes about how language is tied to one’s identity and culture in “How to Tame a Wild Tongue.” The language someone speaks means more than just words coming off their tongue, rather they can show a lot about someones’ culture and traditions. Anzaluda writes about her struggles as well as benefits in speaking her foreign language, Chicano Spanish. As we have seen, living in America and not speaking white english is already a challenge on its own, so we can only imagine how hard it is for Anzaldua. Yet it gets even worse for example when she writes “Chicano Spanish is considered by the purest and by most Latinos deficient, a mutilation of Spanish.” This line came to show us that Chicano speakers were also hated by their own people, separating their culture even more from others. This separation causes the Chicanos to remain closer together and build a stronger and bigger cultural bond that originates from their language. 

After reading Anzalduas writing whenever I hear or see the phrase “I am my language” I feel as though I understand it on a different level. To be your own language is to carry its culture with all of its positive and negative aspects. When Anzalduas writes about going to the drive in movies, to watch mexican films with her family it reminded me of my own culture. As part of my Jewish community, every holiday my family would gather together for a big dinner laughing, reading jewish books, and embracing our culture as proudly as ever. Reading about how Anzalduas shares that special bond of language and culture with her family warmed my heart and flooded me with my own memories of my culture and language. One word that I have many memories around is the phrase “shabbat shalom.”

Shabbat shalom is the Jewish phrase used in order to wish a good sabbath to one another on Saturdays. The word shalom in hebrew actually carries two meanings, one being a form of a greeting, and the second meaning peace. So when saying shabbat shalom you are both greeting and wishing peace to whoever you are conversing with. This line personally means alot to me, because it reminds me of being able to sit down with my whole family, and have a nice meal while enjoying each other’s presence. Additionally, we do not use cell phones or electronics giving everyone an opportunity to socialize and talk on a deeper, more personal level. Although the menu for the sabbath meal is different for everyone, we tend to embrace our Syrian culture and have many Middle Eastern foods and desserts. When with extended family, each family will make their own dish leading to a very flavorful and cultured meal. While it might seem that the sabbath can only be celebrated by Jews, it can be appreciated and kept by all. In the end of the day it is just a day of rest that can be used to bond and grow with loved ones. Every family in the world can create their own version of a sabbath enjoying each other’s conversation and appreciating their own cultures and languages, whether it’s Chicano, English, or anything in between. 


3 thoughts on “Shabbat Shalom

  1. This is so nice: “This line personally means alot to me, because it reminds me of being able to sit down with my whole family, and have a nice meal while enjoying each other’s presence.” Language is our humanity! I, too, have such great memories tied to certain words, phrases, and pronunciations from my household growing up. I’m glad you have shabbat shalom to bring those positive feelings to you. We all need to make time for sabbath no matter what our cultural background! I’m making that effort myself to have one family day per week where my wife and I both do not work at all.

  2. I found the part where you discussed the greeting “Shabbat shalom” so interesting. How a two word phrase can hold so much meaning to you because of the memories you hold with. This helped me understand how important the situation a language is spoken is in the whole context of understanding and communicating.

  3. I really liked your explanation of what “Shabbat Shalom” meant to you. You were able to both translate it into English and share how to you it meant more than what you can translate to English. It makes me wonder about a lot of words or phrases that are translated and whether or not the translation does it justice.

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