Send to Friend  Bookmark  Print

What is Shabbat?

Shabbat is the Jewish Sabbath. The English word Sabbath came from the Hebrew word, Shabbat. It's pronounced "shah-baht." An alternative more Yiddish spelling is Shabbos and is pronunced "shah-biss." Shabbat lasts from sundown on Friday until three stars are visible on Saturday night. The greetings for Shabbat are "Shabbat shalom" (Sabbath peace) or the Yiddish "gut Shabbos" ("good Sabbath").

Shabbat features in the Ten Commandments, and the commandment to keep Shabbat is repeated in the Torah, the first five books of the Hebrew scripture that provides the foundation for Judaism.

Shabbat is a day of rest and enjoyment for us at the end of the work week, just as God did at the end of the week of creation. Traditional Jews avoid doing any work, reserving the time for friends and family, pleasant walks and naps, prayer and study.

Shabbat is a day of peace, rest, reflection, and hospitality for the entire community. The Torah invites all to share in the blessing of rest and explicitly includes those who are not Jewish to take a day of rest as well. Jews were the first community to establish this healthy custom of a day off from work.

The gift of Shabbat is part of God's covenant with the Jewish people. Honoring the Sabbath is one way Jews have of maintaining that agreement.


Return to the Guide to Shabbat and Havdalah for Interfaith Families Resource Guide.

Hebrew for "Sabbath [of] peace," a greeting on the Jewish Sabbath. Yiddish for "good Sabbath," a customary greeting leading into, and during, the Sabbath. The Jewish Sabbath, from sunset on Friday to nightfall on Saturday. The Jewish Sabbath, from sunset on Friday to nightfall on Saturday. A language, literally meaning "Jewish," once widely used by Ashkenazi communities. It is influenced by German, Hebrew and Slavic languages, and is written with the Hebrew alphabet. It is comparable to the language of many Sephardi communities, Ladino. A language of West Semitic origins, culturally considered to be the language of the Jewish people. Ancient or Classical Hebrew is the language of Jewish prayer or study. Modern Hebrew was developed in the late-19th and early 20th centuries as a revival language; today it is spoken by most Israelis.
The first five books of the Hebrew Bible (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy), or the scroll that contains them.

InterfaithFamily is the premier resource supporting interfaith couples exploring Jewish life and inclusive Jewish communities. We offer educational content; connections to welcoming organizations, professionals and programs; resources and trainings for organizations, clergy and other program providers; and our new InterfaithFamily/Your Community initiative providing coordinated comprehensive offerings in local communities.

If you have suggestions, please contact network at interfaithfamily dot com.

Send to Friend  Bookmark  Print