Shabbat, or the Sabbath, is a day of rest, celebrated from Friday night at sunset until Saturday night at sundown each week. Unlike other major holidays on the Jewish calendar, the importance of observing Shabbat has actually been set in stone: the Ten Commandments instruct Jews to keep and remember the Sabbath. While the traditional restrictions surrounding its observance (including the prohibition against using electricity) may seem overwhelming, observing Shabbat is, in fact, a gift — a full 25 hours when we put aside weekly worries and relax. Emulating the story of Creation, when God spent six days creating the universe and rested on the seventh, on Shabbat, you take a break from your busy week to spend time with family, to pray, to read, and to rejuvenate.
While Shabbat has these biblical origins, its observance can be a meaningful and low-barrier way to introduce Judaism into the lives of grandchildren being raised in interfaith homes. As Jewish grandparents, you have the opportunity to create memories or rituals especially because it is a weekly holiday. With its regularity, there is an inherent lack of pressure to celebrate – you can observe with your grandchildren every week, once a month, or twice a year, whether by calling each Friday night, having a family meal, or relaxing with a book together. Your grandchildren might have busy, planned, programmed lives or may not celebrate Shabbat; still, whether you live near or far, you can share the joys of Shabbat and “unplug” together. As one JOI employee’s grandparent used to say at the end of a long week, “Shabbat comes just in time!”
Shabbat in Your Suitcase – Learn how to celebrate Shabbat with your grandchildren who live far away.
Bake Challah (Braided Bread) Together – Spend time in the kitchen with your grandchildren, preparing challah to welcome Shabbat.
Unplug and Curl Up with a Book – Introduce your grandchildren to the beauty of honoring the Sabbath by committing to its first purpose: to rest.