Each Friday evening, families around the world begin the celebration of Shabbat. For many, the evening includes favorite foods, company for dinner, special songs, and blessings. On Shabbat, families take a break and spend time together and with the community. One Erev Shabbat (Friday evening) ritual that is both simple and beautiful is lighting candles to “usher in” the Sabbath and set it apart from the weekday world. Immediately after lighting candles, special blessings are said over the wine or grape juice, the challah, and in many families, over the children as well.
On Saturday evenings, many families say goodbye to Shabbat with a short ceremony that includes ritual objects to help us remember the beauty of Shabbat as the day ends.
Havdalah, or “separation” in Hebrew, is Shabbat’s closing ritual, when three stars appear on Saturday evening. In a simple multi-sensory ceremony, with blessings over lights, wine or grape juice, and spices, Havdalah is an inspiring way to end Shabbat and start the new week as a family.