I began posting what I call "The Biblical Buffet" four years ago, beginning with Bereshit 2015.
At first, the idea was to create an occasional whimsical centerpiece for our family's Shabbat table, one that would hopefully engage my four children, now ages 18 to 11, and the children of the different guests we host each week. But as the weeks wore on--and my kids teased that I had way too much free time--I became more passionate about carefully reading and wrestling with the text as I chose a specific story or character or image to visually represent. I realized that I was following the awesome arc of the Torah, the historical and spiritual document that is our people's gift to the world, because the staging of these photos concretized my love of Shabbat and the Bible.
I realized that this weekly project was more than just a kitschy way to bring the Torah into my family and on to my table. Thinking about that week's Bible portion and its timeless relevance to the world around us has been a spiritual exercise for me and, hopefully, for those who follow me. What is particularly inspiring to me is that the many positive responses I have received come not only from Jews but also from Muslims and Christians, a reminder that our shared traditions can connect rather than divide us.
Many thanks to my parsha partner Kecha Jackson (see photo, right), an ayshet chayil (woman of valor) who is invaluable in the management of the happy chaos of our home. Kecha (who has appeared as the hand of G-d) is a learned Seventh Day Adventist who really knows the Bible, and it has been a true pleasure for me to talk Torah, design scenarios, and bake challah with her every Friday. (She is now teaching members of her church, who observe Saturday as their Sabbath, how to make challah as well.)
And so we begin again. For 5779, I may frequently repost what I have created before. Or I may find, as I read the book that is at the center of our lives, that I feel compelled to create new images and descriptions.