Shabbat/Sabbath

Shabbat or Sabbath is the holiest day of the Jewish week and lasts from sundown on Friday evening to an hour after sundown on Saturday night. Jewish women light Shabbat candles, men make blessings over wine and Challah (plaited loaf) bread, and families and friends celebrate a restful 24 hours with food and stopping all work. Two loaves of Challah are put on the Shabbat table, to remind us of the double portion of manna G-d sent down to feed the Children of Israel in the desert when they left Egypt, Challah covers are laid over the Challah, to remind us of the early morning dew in the desert, Kiddush cups hold the wine and the ritual hand washing blessing Netilat Yadayim is made from washing beakers. Many people use this time to think of others and Tzedakah (charity) is often given before candles are lit. At the end of the Shabbat, a ceremony called Havdalah (separation) is made, to separate the holy Sabbath from the rest of the week. A special Havdalah candle is lit, spices are smelled and wine is used to extinguish the flame, so all the senses can participate.
“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the L-rd your G-d. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates.” For in six days the L-rd made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the L-rd blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it. (Exodus 20:8-11)