Turn Friday Night into Shabbat is United Synagogue Living & Learning’s tool to help individuals and communities make the most of their Friday night experience. There are numerous aspects of Friday night. We have addressed each aspect separately, providing suggestions for enhancing each of them. Consider taking on one or more of these aspects of Friday night into your home/community.
We believe that Friday night is the gateway to making Shabbat a memorable experience.
The beauty of Friday night is that the framework that tradition has handed down to us and makes it the most special time of the week. A time to gather family and friend together, to relax, unwind and connect in a way that is becoming increasingly difficult in our modern and busy lives. It is that original framework that we want to conserve, to that ends we have offered you a suggested order of events for Friday night.
The order of events that we follow are a recommendation, but there exists a verity of running orders. Ours is a suggestion, but please feel free to consult your local orthodox rabbi if your custom from home differs.
- Friday before Shabbat this is usually about a frenzy of activity and getting everything ready before Shabbat that cannot be done during Shabbat check out our panning ahead section and our Pre-Shabbat check list.
- Candle lighting this is the last work one does before welcoming in the Shabbat. Here you will find our ideas/thoughts and how to guide to candle lighting.
- Kabbalat Shabbat (service in shul or at home)- this is the melodic and beautiful prayer said to welcome in the Shabbat. For more on this service and its special tunes go here
- Shalom Aleichem once you have welcomed your family and guests to the table, now it is time to welcome in the angels with this special tune that is sung almost every Friday night, each verse is sung depending on tradition once, twice or three times and with each repletion we welcome into our home the angels.
- Eshet Chayil the song titled Woman of Valour, is sung every Friday night, it welcomes the Shabbat bride to our table.
- Blessing Children Friday nights offer us an opportunity to bless our children, it is a moment of time where we can pass on our hopes and wishes for their wellbeing.
- Kiddush this is the moment that we fill Friday night with its religious raison d’tre, by sanctifying the day and making a special blessing over a glass of wine.
- Netilat Yadaim Before eating breads we wash our hands for a verity of reasons, one of them being the commemoration and remembrance of the temple in Jerusalem.
- Hamotzi this is the special blessing we make prior to slicing and eating challah.
- Dinner this is the point in the meal that we serve traditional and untraditional Friday night dinner, enjoy conversation with our friends and family.
- Zemirot there is a lovely group of songs composed in the early middle ages that tell of the beauty of Shabbat, during Friday night dinner is the ideal time to sing them.
- Benching Grace after the Meal, this is our opportunity to thank God for the bounty of our lives and the food at our tables.