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From the Archive /
Bar and Bat Mitzvah
Bar Mitzvah Seminar about the Sabbath

Kfar Blum


Sabbath welcoming ceremony (including a meal) for parents and children


Necessary elements for the program:

Sabbath songs

Kiddush (blessing of the wine)

Creative additions like songs from the New Hebrew songbook that will be chosen by the participants, original texts by the participants.

The welcoming of the Sabbath will be accompanied by instruction and explanations.

At the end of the ceremony, before dispersing, they will told the story that starts the activity for the Sabbath (see below) and each of them will be asked to put into a suitcase (that will be available there) as many “items of Sabbath” as possible.

They will be given paper and pens.

[During the evening we will sort out what has been put into the suitcase and divide them equally between four suitcases, including additions, thus in each suitcase there will be the same quantity of materials].


The opening story:

The year: 1999. The world is in panic. Within several months a terrible crash will take place between the earth and a huge planet which has left its orbit and is advancing towards us with the speed of light.


The residents of earth, who have lost hope of surviving themselves, are trying to save, at the very least, their culture, with the hope that someone sometime somewhere will find it and give it new life.


The governments of the world are dividing up the work for saving the culture between them. The government of Israel is making us responsible for saving the Sabbath.  We must ensure that we put into this suitcase everything necessary so that someone who opens it – somewhere – sometime – will be able to understand what the Sabbath is.

Every item is important, every fact – will be welcome. Every article – will be welcome.


And not only what I know about my own Sabbath but also what I know about the Sabbath of other Jews. Whatever is in the suitcase will be the only source regarding the Sabbath from now and for eternity.


Sabbath / 15.5.99 / 29th Iyar 5759 / Torah portion “Bamidbar”

10:00  A short lecture

10:15  Distribution into small groups

Group A will receive a suitcase and will create a huge crossword

Group B will receive a suitcase and perform a play

Group C will receive a suitcase and create a visual artwork (A painting? An installation?)

Group D will receive a suitcase and create a video clip.

At 12:30        Lunch and an interval

At 14:00        Continued work in groups

At 16:00        Assembly with the parents and presentation of the works to the assembly

At 17:00        Conclusions / Dispersal


The instructors will work with the children from 10:15 in sorting the items in the suitcase, before the group starts preparation of its project. The sorting out will include: review of the contents, explanations and learning regarding unknown items or items that are not understood, and a joint discussion as to a decision what will need to remain in the suitcase (and is expressed in the project) and what is thrown out as irrelevant. The section of the learning and discussion has the real importance of the day, although in the children’s eyes the most important issue, we can assume, will be execution of the project.


Materials for the suitcases:

The materials will be brought in by the children and the parents to the welcoming of the Sabbath ceremony and be concentrated on the display table. It will be possible to add materials after the ceremony (following the explanations and the ceremony). For this purpose there will be writing paper and pens available.


Suggestions for Sabbath materials:

a. Sabbath songs:


b. Non verbal symbols: candles, candlesticks, challah bread, a white tablecloth, white shirt, flowers, a napkin to cover the bread, a prayer book, wine glasses, a bottle of wine, candles for havdalah (conclusion of the Sabbath service), aromatics for the havdalah, a Torah scroll (for reading in synagogue on Sabbath), “a Sabbath page”.


c. Symbols/concepts relating to Sabbath: Kiddush, “the most beloved day”, “forbidden to work”, “welcoming the Sabbath”, “the third meal”, “Melave Malka” (special meal on Saturday evening), “havdalah”, “carrying items on the Sabbath”, “the Sabbath area”, “the boundary of the Sabbath area”, “desicretation of the Sabbath”, “keeping the Sabbath”, “the Torah portion”, “being called up to the Torah”, “Maftir”, “haftara”, “the Sabbath goy”, “Oneg Shabbat”, “the extra soul”, “songs for the Sabbath”, three meals”, “Shabbat Shalom”“Sabbath can be broken in life and death situations”.


d. Contents relating to the Sabbath:

Remembering Genesis (“because You worked for six days…and on the seventh day You rested”).

Remembering the departure from Egypt “”and remember that you were a slave”.

Rest for the body and the soul

The uniqueness and the unity of the Jewish people

The day on which all your doings or non-doings are derived from your identity as a Jew


e. “Our Sabbath” – ceremonies of all types recounting the way in which the Sabbath is celebrated in the State of Israel, in the kibbutz in general and in kibbutz in particular; arguments about the Sabbath.


f. “My Sabbath” – how do I mark my Sabbath; the connection between the Sabbath and my life and my identity as a Jew.


g. Israel as a measure of Judaism and its public Sabbath.


h. Sabbath and politics in Israel.

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