We don’t live within walking distance of our shul. We want to be within walking distance of our shul on Shabbat. We weren’t willing to pack up and move across town because it seemed wiser to wait and save up for a bigger move out to a bigger Jewish community.
It actually was the inspired idea of our Rabbi, who has had people stay in RV’s near the Chabad house previously, although generally in summer. After a little bit of searching, we found the perfect candidate for our Shabbat home away from home, a small 22 foot RV that just barely has enough room to sleep all four of us. The table, such as it is, really more seats two…and is also going to be our son’s bed. (It flips down and some cushions move.)
There are some bugs to be worked out. For one, we’re combing through instruction manuals to try to find out what triggers different systems in the RV. For example, running the faucet in the kitchenette will start a water pump, so that will have to be taped off so no one accidentally uses it. The stove uses propane and requires lighting with a match each use, so that will not be used either. Crockpots and a plata (like a hot plate that stays warm over Shabbat) along with timers will be our friends, along with jugs of water.
Overall, it will be a lot like camping, which, thankfully, Alaskans are fond of and well experienced with. We’ve spent many summer trips in tents and at least this mobile Sukkah should be less difficult in the rain.
A bigger challenge is how to spend the endless hours that Shabbat in Alaska soon will be. Already, havdalah inches later and later, closer to bedtime. Soon, it will be in the night, meaning that we’ll need to keep both kids occupied with Shabbat activities within that 22 foot space for most of the day and evening. Friday night, we can bring in Shabbat later as the sun goes down much later, doing kiddush and a light meal with hamotzei just before bedtime.
For the moment, though, these challenges can wait. We’re just happy to have a way we can once again walk to shul.
Although I really am hoping not to do Passover Seders at a 2 person table!