Ask the Expert: Shabbat Alone

How do I observe Shabbat without my family?

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Certainly Shabbat is always nicer when you can share it with others, so you might want to consider working out a way for your family to join you for some but not all of the observance. Your parents and siblings might not be into making sure they have dinner ready by, say, 4:34 exactly on a Friday afternoon, but if you spend Thursday night in the kitchen making sure there will be a delicious meal the following afternoon, you can bet your family will be thrilled to have hot and yummy food waiting for them when they get home.

When Shabbat starts early, like it does in the winter, you have plenty of time after candle lighting to do the blessings yourself. Your family can just join you for the meal. That way, you're having a Shabbat meal with your family, without forcing them to sit through rituals they aren't interested in.

Another option is to cultivate a community that you can bring into your home. Maybe your family isn't interested in celebrating Shabbat, but you can probably find a few friends--from your synagogue, or from school--who would like to come over to observe Shabbat with you. Your family might be off at a football game, but you can still make and serve dinner for a friend or two, and say the blessings with them.

We like to say that Shabbat is about being with your family, but really, you can do Shabbat anywhere, and you can make anyone your Shabbat family.

Shabbat Shalom!


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