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Shabbat for Families
BY SARA SHAPIRO-PLEVAN for myjewishlearning.com
How to make Shabbat your family's favorite day of the week.
Preparing for and celebrating Shabbat can be a daunting proposition. There are so many things to do even just to prepare, and if you have children, the prospect of celebrating Shabbat (meant to be joyous and relaxing) for even one hour, let alone 25, can seem preposterous.
Don’t give up. This day-long marathon can be packed with marvelous family traditions and special opportunities for fun. Instead of making a radical change in the way your family observes Shabbat, make it gradual. Try some of these tips below and make Shabbat a truly special day for your family.
Shabbat Shalom – Spreading Light
Shabbat. Shabbos. The Sabbath.
Once a week, each Friday around sundown, my family gathers to light two candles. The light generated by these candles is symbolic of spiritual energy. It signals to us that the day of rest is here. It is time for us to pause and reflect on our week, and on our inner spiritual lives. We break bread (challah), share a home-cooked meal as a family, and disconnect from our daily routine in order to connect with a deeper, more important energy.
We look forward to Shabbat. In this energetic, frenetic world where negativity abounds, Shabbat is like the ultimate spiritual reset.
How To Host A Stress-Free Shabbat Meal, Step By Step
By Gayle L. Squires for The Forward
So you want to host your first Shabbat dinner or lunch and you’re shaky on the logistics? Perhaps you didn’t grow up with the tradition but would like to start a Friday night custom to gather with friends after a long week. Maybe you’ve graduated from college and are living on your own for the first time and want to continue the customs you practiced at home or learned at Hillel or Chabad — or start your own traditions.
Great news: I’ve been in your shoes, have made the mistakes, and can offer suggestions for how to entertain on Shabbat without too many hiccups.
Shabbat Blessings for Friday Night
BY MJL STAFF
Lighting the candles, saying Kiddush and other Shabbat dinner rituals.
Like most Jewish observances, Shabbat has a unique liturgy that is recited during communal prayer. But there are also a number of blessings that are traditionally recited in the home on Friday evening.
The lighting of candles as sunset approaches on Friday is the traditional sign of the arrival of Shabbat. After lighting the candles, it is customary to cover the eyes and recite the following:
בָּרוּך אַתָּה אַדָנָי אֱלהֵינוּ מֶלֶך הָעוֹלָם אַשֶׁר קִדְשָנוּ בְּמִצְוֹתָיו וְצִוָנוּ לְהַדְלִיק נֵר שֶל שַבָּת
Baruch ata Adonai, Eloheinu Melech ha-olam, asher kidshanu b’mitzvotav vitzivanu l’hadlik ner shel Shabbat.
BY GEORGE ROBINSON for myjewishlearning.com
What happens during the Friday night prayer service.
In the first verses of Bereshit Genesis, God creates light and “there was evening and morning, the first day.” (Genesis 1:5) The rabbis reasoned that if the Torah, the product of divine revelation, said that the first day began with evening, that must have been God’s intention, for “days” to begin at sunset. So when the sky is streaked with the fading Friday sunlight, in Jewish homes around the world, candles are lit, blessings are said and Shabbat is welcomed. And in synagogues, the Friday Ma’ariv service begins with a series of hymns, Psalms, and blessings collectively known as Kabbalat Shabbat/ Welcoming the Sabbath.