Welcome to your group Shabbat celebration! This experience is designed to guide you along in your own social group’s home celebration of Shabbat. It contains enhanced Shabbat features to make the Shabbat experience a meaningful one for everyone in every family in your group – no matter what their religious background, age (young children are included), history, or knowledge of Judaism. It can be used to enhance your own family’s Shabbat celebration, too.

We will begin with a little background information on Shabbat: where does the holiday come from? Why do Jews celebrate Shabbat on a weekly basis? What does it mean to celebrate Shabbat? Throughout this guide, you will be asked to interact with the material you are learning. Questions for thought/discussion are interspersed throughout. Everyone (not just the Jews in the room) will be encouraged to answer and participate. This celebration of rest and creation is for everyone.

Next, we have provided you four different Shabbat themes to choose from. Each theme will walk you through everything you need for a Shabbat celebration, but with a different focus.

Theme 1: Blessing over the Candles: Rest and Separation Theme 2: The Parents Blessing: Making Connections Theme 2: Blessing over the Wine: Sacredness and Holiness Theme 3: Blessing over the Challah: Community and Family

Choose the theme that speaks to you based on an experience that you had this past week. Are you in need of rest? Did you have a difficult week? Or did you find time to seek out something special, or did something unique seek you out this week? Or did you have a family encounter that made you think about life in a special way? Each one of these themes is designed to focus on one aspect of celebrating Shabbat. These are universal themes that each one of us experiences in our own right, on our own terms. Take a poll of your group, decide on a theme, and begin to explore.

You will need to choose a facilitator – someone who feels comfortable bringing a conversation to a close and moving on to the next question or to the next blessing.

Remember, everyone in your group will be encouraged to participate. The questions are interfaith couple and family friendly, specific, and universal in nature. As human beings we are each in need of a day of rest, no matter who we are and where we come from; whether you celebrate the Sabbath on Friday, Saturday, Sunday or another day during the week. Everyone needs a Sabbath – a Shabbat. So welcome to your Shabbat.

What Is Shabbat?

“The people of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, observing the Sabbath in every generation as a covenant for all time. It is a sign forever between Me and the people of Israel, for in six days the Eternal God made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day God rested from all God’s labors.” Exodus 31:16­17

Shabbat is the Jewish Sabbath‐‐though the English word actually came from Shabbat. It's a day ofrest and enjoyment at the end of every week that religious people undertake in imitation of God, whorested on the seventh day of creation. Traditional Jews refrain from all work on Shabbat, reserving itinstead for prayer, study, visiting friends and family, large meals, pleasant walks and naps. It'spronounced Shah‐baht, though some spell it Shabbos and pronounce it shah‐biss. Shabbat lasts from just before sundown on Friday until an hour after sundown on Saturday evening.The greetings for Shabbat are "Shabbat Shalom," or in Yiddish, "Gut Shabbos." (It sounds like "goodShabbos" and that's what it means.) From the InterfaithFamily.com Guide to Shabbat for Interfaith Families


Please share the answers to these questions as a group. Take no more than five minutes on this piece:

• What do you already know about Shabbat? • Have you ever celebrated a Shabbat? What did you experience? • What questions do you have about celebrating Shabbat?

Did you know?

Shabbat is actually 25 hours long? Some celebrate for an extra hour (from sundown Friday till one hour after sundown Saturday) to show how precious Shabbat is!

Shabbat happens every week ‐ but WE are the ones who actually make it happen with our actions and ourcelebrations!

What’s It All About?

In Jewish culture, Shabbat is a day of peace, rest, reflection, hospitality and family. In NorthAmerican Jewish families, Shabbat dinner on Friday evening can be important family time. In Israel,secular Jewish families get together on Saturday to eat and just be together. The Jewish culturalvalues of hospitality and family find their expression in the customs of Shabbat.You can bring holiness and peace into your life in 20 minutes of blessings before Friday night dinner.Shabbat is for the entire Jewish community, and unlike many other Jewish observances, Shabbatexplicitlyincludes the non‐Jewish members of our families. Everyone can have Shabbat. From the InterfaithFamily.com Guide to Shabbat for Interfaith Families


Service Section: Psalms, Poetry & Songs, Candlelighting, Barchu & Shema, Amidah, Commentary/Meditations, Prayers for Healing & Peace, Prayers of Remembrance, Lifecycle & Milestones, Aleinu, Kiddush, Motzi & Handwashing, Prayers of Celebration & Gratitude 
Source: A Shabbat Experience For Your Group of Friends (and Family)