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Your practical guide: How to keep Shabbat

Our lives are built around the seven days of the week. In Judaism, six of these days are known only by their relationship to Shabbat: "The first day toward Shabbat", "the second day toward Shabbat", etc. This is a daily reminder of the centrality of Shabbat and the power it has as the focal point in our lives. We celebrate this day with its rituals and traditions, which uplift it to become a day like no other.

Come join us as we learn some ideas about how to keep Shabbat together.

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Start walking

Ditch the car keys, give Uber a rest, skip the subway and take a stroll to nowhere in particular. We take the opportunity to explore our world and everything in it, without using any transport. On Shabbat, we are in harmony with G-d and His creation. We stop creating in order to appreciate the world around us for what it is. We wave to our neighbors and enjoy a rest from the daily frenzied rush. It’s refreshing how different things look when we’re ambling at a leisurely pace.

No work, all play

At its core, Shabbat is a day of rest – G-d ceased creating on the seventh day, and so do we. Our week days are spent mastering our worlds – building and shaping what we have been given. On Shabbat, we stop all work and take the time to just be. We sip our coffee, read a book, have long uninterrupted conversations, and we play. To play is to be free and on Shabbat we are truly free. With no external demands weighing on us, it’s amazing where the day takes us.

(Dis)connect to reconnect

It’s time for a digital detox. We turn off the things that usually distract us: we shove our cellphones and devices in a drawer, and our TVs and music go off. This leaves us open to connect with the here and now, and the things that matter most to us. We attune ourselves to the beauty of the world around us – the stuff we tend to take for granted during the week. On Shabbat, the spiritual level of the world is magnified, and we unplug and immerse ourselves in it.

And of course… eat

What would a Jewish experience be without food? The three meals of Shabbat are an integral part of the full Shabbat experience, and the Shabbat table is central to the day. It’s where we connect with family and friends, as well as with G-d, as we give thanks to Him for providing us with the food and the special time spent together. We can savor the magic of the day by preparing our much-loved traditional dishes and laying a beautiful Shabbat table. We are fully present and grateful for this time.

Shabbat in 7 Steps Summary

Step 1 | Prepare
Step 1 | Prepare
  • Company and events
  • Planning your menu
  • Shopping and cooking
Step 2 | Time for Shabbat
Step 2 | Time for Shabbat
  • Shut down for Shabbat
  • Light your Shabbat candles
  • Kabbalat Shabbat: the Friday evening service
Step 3 | Friday Night
Step 3 | Friday Night
  • Blessing the children
  • Kiddush
  • Challah
  • Grace after meals
Step 4 | Shabbat Morning
Step 4 | Shabbat Morning
  • Morning rhythm
  • Synagogue services and dress
Step 5 | Shabbat Lunch
Step 5 | Shabbat Lunch
  • Lechem Mishna
  • Zemirot
  • Birkat Hamazon
Step 6 | Shabbat Afternoon
Step 6 | Shabbat Afternoon
  • Tech free zone/play
  • Seudat Shlishit
Step 7 | Havdalah
Step 7 | Havdalah
  • Havdalah service
  • Shabbat end times
Download: Shabbat table guide
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