Plans to spend Shabbat somewhere else keep getting thwarted.
Tried to go on an international trip with a Jewish organization that would have also included Shabbat plans. Husband was actually game to go this time (kind of), but the flights wound up being too much of a logistical nightmare. I’m up for pandemic travel, but I have limited patience for flights with multiple layovers. So that got scrapped.
So then I thought that maybe instead of trying to plan indulgent, impractical Shabbat plans, maybe it was better to do something practical. I no longer enjoy living where we currently live and am really interested in moving Somewhere Else. A Shabbat with no local plans could be a good opportunity to spend Shabbat Somewhere Else and learn about another community that might be a better fit.
In pre-COVID times, I was rather good at making new short-lived friendships when spending Shabbat in new communities. I knew how to write a request to an area synagogue such that the community would love to host me because I would sound like a charming and wonderful Shabbat guest. And I was, in fact, a charming and wonderful Shabbat dinner/lunch guest. I’m a good Shabbat meal conversationalist with total strangers (and Husband is actually even better at this). And I’m good enough at reading people to know that my/our Shabbat hosts had a genuinely good time hosting us. (Oddly, reading people’s facial expressions and learning if they actually liked you or are lying and didn’t like you at all was another skill I picked up from competitive karaoke).
But no matter how charming you appear to be, it’s still a pandemic and people are less willing to host because of COVID cooties.
But also, I think I have lost some of my charm. I have three parent-friends living in Somewhere Else, and I stalled on asking them about hosting us for a meal because the thought of having to have a catching up, “how’s life during COVID and oh my, the kids have gotten so big” conversation seemed like more than I could tolerate. Even though this is exactly what will happen if we actually move. Also, I hate having to ask parent-friends for Shabbat hospitality because I don’t want to feel obligated to return the favor and have to invite them back. I can’t win.
Weather forecast = snow, so it doesn’t make sense to go Somewhere Else when between weather and COVID, no one is even going to bother going to synagogue so we won’t have the chance to really see what the community is like.
This means Shabbat at home. Again.