Gift Ideas from the Traditional Jewish Sabbath

by wrapitup4me

Items traditionally used on the Sabbath make wonderful gifts for secular and religious Jews. Many Jews have a soft spot in their hearts for the traditions of their forefathers.

Newly wed Jewish couples would traditionally have received all that they would have needed to maintain a religious lifestyle. However, as families became more secular and moved away from religious practice, many Jewish homes today do not contain the basic items that their parents or grandparents would have had.

Furthermore, since heirlooms have been divided among many heirs, there are Jews today who miss out on having something concrete that would connect them with their heritage.

The traditional Jewish Sabbath table and customs provide ample inspiration for gifts. Here are ideas for those with a modest as well as a generous budget who are looking for a gift for a friend or family member - or even for themselves!

Fundamentals of the Jewish Sabbath

Jewish religious observance revolves around the rhythmic cycles of time. The Hebrew calendar is based upon the moon cycles and most religious holidays focus on the changing of the seasons. The most central cycle in Jewish life is the cycle of the week: 6 days of work and 1 day of rest. The day of rest is called the Sabbath, or Shabbat, in Hebrew.

Honoring Shabbat eve forms a special time for families - the mother lights the Shabbat candles before sundown, the father says the blessing over the wine and the challah (special Shabbat and holiday bread) and the family eats a festive meal together. This meal is leisurely and often a great opportunity for the family to catch up on what everyone is doing and feeling. After the meal, the family may sing songs together and finally recite the blessing after the meal, much of it in song.

Some secular families try to maintain the tradition of Shabbat eve as important family time.

In the religious family, the men and boys go to synagogue Shabbat morning and at lunchtime the family gets together again for another meal. Because on Shabbat electricity or fire cannot be used, there is a special Shabbat lunch recipe, called Tshulent in Yiddish and Chamin in Hebrew. All the ingredients are put into a special pot and left in the oven on low heat from before the start of Shabbat until lunchtime.

After lunch, the family reads or plays games together and older children go out to play with their friends.

When there are three stars in the evening sky, it is the signal that Shabbat has ended. Then the family gathers once more for what is called the "Havdalah" ritual - a ritual that signals that Shabbat has ended. In the Havdalah ritual, a special candle is lit and everyone takes a whiff of aromatic spices. Then the candle is extinguished in the wine over which a blessing had been said.

Shabbat Table Handmade Model - $550

Believe it or not, the photo to the left is a framed miniature model of the Shabbat table. It's dimension are 10.5" by 7" by 4". The detail is awe-inspiring. Each model is handmade and signed by the artist, Nava Steinmetz.

Click on the photo to see the model from different perspectives to get a better idea of what it actually looks like.

Sabbath Candlesticks

Gifts for $46, $84 and $4244

Shabbat candlesticks can be simple and contemporary in design or they can be elaborate in more traditional European style. There are also candlesticks that are works of very elegant works of art. There is something for every budget and if you don't like what I have selected to display here, then you can check the huge variety at World of


The modern design to the right sells for $46. At 20 cm (7.8") tall, they are made of glass and decorated in blue and purple. Other colors are available.

A more elaborate and traditional design, such as the set on the lower left, costs $84 and stands 25 cm (9") tall.

The candlesticks below right are a work of art and sell for $4244. Standing 32 cm (12") in height, the red background provides a stunning contrast to the sterling silver cut-out design.


A Table runner that is Also an Israeli Piece of Art

For either $25 or $87

Both of these table runners are made from pure silk and designed by Yair Emanuel, a popular Israeli artist. His work can be found in galleries and art gallery shops in Israel.

The pomegranate runner measures 40" by 16" and the wheat runner 80" by 16". Use the runner alone or over a solid colored tablecloth.

Pomegranate Shaped Napkin Rings


The Shabbat and holiday table will look elegant with these pomegranate styled napkin rings. The pomegranate is an important Judaic symbol as it is believed that the fruit contains 613 seeds, the number of Laws the religious Jew is instructed to follow.

Made of pure silver (925 silver electroforming), they have red seeds implanted, creating a unique design. The Karshi family studio in Jerusalem has a long history of producing quality and artistic pieces for the Jewish home.

Every Shabbat Table Needs a Kiddush Cup

Ranging in price from $34 to $681

Before the meal begins, kiddush, the special prayer over the wine, is recited. The Shabbat kiddush includes recitation of verses from Genesis recounting the sanctification of the seventh day, following by a blessing for the wine and thanks for the Sabbath.

The blue kiddush cup on the left sells for $34. It is decorated with silver grapes and part of the blessing over the wine.

The sterling silver kiddush cup on the right sells for $681. A delicate silver filigree design replicates the Jewish wedding canopy.

The lowest cup, silver plated and decorated with grapes and grapes leaves, costs $288.

Click on these photos or visit World of Judaica to see a variety of kiddush cups to fit any budget.

A Wine Bottle Stopper

A Cute Gift for $10 Decorated with a Pomegranate and the word "Shabbat" in Hebrew
Glass Wine Bottle Stopper with Blue Pomegranate and Shabb...

Challah Boards

For $43, $119 and $3657

Challah is the special braided bread traditionally baked for Shabbat and holidays.

A huge selection of challah boards can be found by clicking on the photos below or on the World of Judaica website

The glass challah board to the left below is decorated with delicate white filigree and blue stripes and costs $43.

The stainless steel board is decorated with cut-out pomegranates and the words, "Shabbat Shalom" (Happy Sabbath). A glass plate covers the board for easy cleaning and cutting of the challah. It can be purchased for $119.

The wooden challah board has a sterling silver plate with cut-outs of items symbolic of Shabbat: candlesticks, kiddush cup, challah and more. It costs $290.

Next to it, is a special challah knife, costing $27. The handle is made of glass.

Challah Covers

For $30 to $65

The Challah is covered with a spotless clean cloth until the blessing has been recited. The cover represents the dew that covered the manna that God provided the Jews in the desert after they escaped from Egypt.

The cover on the left, designed by Yair Emanuel, costs $65.

The Gold Satin cover on the right, embroidered with gold threads and beads, costs $30.

A Pewter Havdalah Set


Karshi, a family business run by a father and his sons in Jerusalem, is well known for its high quality Judaica.

The Havdalah candle is held in the candle holder, the wine glass filled for the blessing and the spice box filled with aromatic spices. After the blessings have been recited and the wine sipped, the rest of the wine is poured onto the plate and the used to extinguish the candle. The ceremony separates the sanctity of the Sabbath from the rest of the week.

Pictured here is an especially fancy havdalah candle (costs $25). Most are simply braided blue and white candles that cost about $5 -$8. The Havdalah set costs $69.

You can click on the photos or go to World of Judaica for further choice.

Updated: 03/04/2013, wrapitup4me
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Have You ever Had the Pleasure of Experiencing a True Jewish Shabbat?

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katiem2 on 08/23/2012

WOW what beautiful items of Shabbat. No I have not experienced a true Jewish Shabbat. Thanks for sharing. :)K

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