Here are the basic steps of turning a Friday night into Shabbat. Items needed for the ceremony can be purchased individually. Also, for the end of Shabbat you can buy Havdalah sets.
Candle Lighting: The image of a Jewish woman kindling her Shabbat candles is a timeless symbol of Judaism. Eighteen minutes before sunset, we light the Shabbat candles, inviting peace and harmony into the home, infusing the atmosphere with physical and spiritual light. Candle lighting brings peace, warmth and a special Shabbat glow into the home. Light Shabbat candles before sunset—check the newspaper for the time, or ask your local synagogue to provide a yearly listing. Click here to find a program that tells you the proper candle lighting time where you live.
Kiddush: Everyone stands as the leader cradles a Kiddush cup full of wine or grape juice, to sanctify the Sabbath by remembering that "in six days, God created the heaven and the earth—and on Shabbat He rested." Our week is filled with work and creation, but Shabbat is the day of rest and reflection. "Kiddush" literally means to make a distinction, to elevate something physical and make it spiritual. By reciting Kiddush, we elevate not only the cup of wine, but the very day of Shabbat itself.
Hand Washing: We wash our hands in order to purify ourselves before we break bread. First remove all rings as the water must cover your hands completely, and then say the blessing.
Ha-Motzi: Two challahs are placed on a challah plate or challah board, covered with a decorative challah cover, and set on the table. The two loaves commemorate the double portion of manna which fell from the heavens each Friday while the Jews were in the desert. After the blessing, the leader cuts the challah for everyone and serves. We place salt on the bread because salt is a preserver, symbolizing that this meal is no longer merely a transitory experience, but a moment that will last for eternity.
Festive Meal: A traditional Friday night dinner usually includes several courses: fish, soup, entrée and dessert. This is a time to enjoy each other's company while partaking in the delicious Shabbat food. Each family or circle of friends creates their own Friday night traditions that include Shabbat songs, words of Torah, stories for children, and time for the children to share what they learned in school about the week's Torah portion. In some homes, people go around the table to share what they are grateful for, or to tell a small miracle story.
Songs: We all remember a few favorite songs from the days of Hebrew school or summer camp. The mystics say that "song is the expression of an excited soul." Song will relax you and propel you into the Shabbat experience. Besides, if there are any children around, they'll love it. And don't worry if you can't follow the words — it's the melody and rhythm that will give you the greatest lift.
Benching: After the scrumptious Sabbath meal, we thank God by benching. We prepare for the blessing by rinsing our fingertips with water, called Mayim Achronim, which is usually passed around the table.
We have plenty of items that make for great Jewish religious gifts, like Kiddush cups, Shabbat candlesticks and candelabras, challah boards, challah trays, challah knives, havdalah items, yarmulkes, talism, tzedakah boxes, yads, fountain sets and more.
Some of the more popular items are: Jewish Candles: Candles play an important role in Judaism. Some are merely decorative but still make great Jewish religious gifts. Chanukah, the festival of lights, is commemorated by the lighting of the eight Jewish candles on the menorah with the ninth candle — the assistant. The havdalah candle is braided, usually about a foot long used at the end of Shabbat.
Jewish candlesticks: Going hand-in-hand with the importance of Jewish candles are candlesticks. Menorah's hold nine candles, eight to commemorate the days the original oil lasted and one helper candle used to light those eight. There are also special candlesticks used in the Shabbat. Jewish candlesticks make great Jewish wedding gifts.
Challah trays: A loaf of challah is one of the signature Jewish foods at Shabbat and holidays. Loaves of challah can be brought to the table and served on challah trays made of silver or ceramics. Traditions Jewish Gifts offers many different kinds of challah trays.
Challah plates: Many Jewish hostesses like to set the table with challah plates. Often these challah plates have Jewish religious symbols on them.
Traditions Jewish Gifts is the place to go to for all the necessary Jewish religious items to celebrate Jewish traditions. Whether looking for shabbat candles, challah trays or Jewish prayer shawls, this is the place to find all the Jewish items you need.