Looking for some easy ways to make Shabbat happen in your busy home? Here are a few suggestions to help get your weekend off to a special start.
Prettify your Shabbat table
- Treat yourself and your family to fresh-cut flowers from a local farm stand, or invest in a flowering potted plant that will last for more than a week.
- Take a field trip to a craft store with your young child and pick out several artificial flowers (they’ve come a long way!); use wire-cutter pliers to separate bunches into individual flowers before arranging them in vases that your children can decorate.
- Each week, have your children make the Shabbat flower arrangement (using either the fresh or faux flowers).
Incorporate tzedakah into your weekly ritual
- Put a tzedakah (charity) box on your Shabbat table for your family to see.
- Encourage everyone to gather change throughout the week to deposit into the box on Shabbat.
- Once a month, sort and count your change; to make tzedakah a tangible experience for your young children, have them buy basic necessities for people in need (food, clothing, personal hygiene products, dental care products, etc.) with the money they have collected.
- Take your children to a local organization periodically to donate the goods they have purchased.
Light up the night
- Use tea lights in votives as a safe and easy candle option for young children (they burn out quickly).
- For child-friendly lighting options, use extra-long fireplace matches or a long, tapered candle to light the Shabbat candles.
- Use the candle-lighting opportunity to remind young children of important fire-safety rules.
Remember the juice or wine
- Any grape beverage will do—white, red, purple, plain, sparkling or fermented!
- Use a special cup or goblet to signify Shabbat.
Include the God-given carb
- Try making your own challah (here’s an easy recipe to try), or find challah locally at most grocery and specialty stores.
- For an easy child-friendly idea, buy soft breadstick dough in the dairy section of your grocery store and try braiding and baking it with your child.
Don’t feel pressured to cook a fancy meal
- You don’t have to make a chicken dinner with all the fixings to celebrate Shabbat; any food will do, including take-out (even pizza)!
Make bedtime extra special
- Buy your child a new pair of pajamas just for Shabbat.
- Read a Jewish book together with your young child (try “Good night, laila tov” and “Goodnight Sh’ma”).
Jodi Jarvis is the director of families with young children and interfaith engagement at CJP.