My family and I celebrated Havdalah together at home for the first time this week.

It had been a fairly uneventful Saturday; the girls played at home and then at the neighbors’ house. Josh and I read the instruction manual for our new snow blower. (I can honestly say I have rarely been more excited about a Hanukkah present.) We were waiting for my older daughter’s friend to come over for a sleepover when the girls asked to do Havdalah.

I looked at my husband and he looked at me. Sure. Why not?

I asked my daughters what made them think of this, especially on a day that, in all honesty, hadn’t included any other Jewish rituals. “Don’t you remember when you dropped me off at A’s house for a sleep-under? We got there right before they did Havdalah. And now she’s coming here to spend the night. That’s what made me think of it. And now I want to do it, too!”

Oh, right. I did remember. One of the many non-academic benefits of sending our girls to a pluralistic day school is that we have connected with families who have a wide range of Jewish identities and observances. My daughter’s closest friend comes from an Orthodox family, and I am grateful for it. On that particular night, my daughter and I arrived just as they were honoring the distinction between the sacred and mundane, light and darkness, and Shabbat and all the other days of the week.

You can read the rest of this post about our Saturday night over at