Explaining Shabbat to Children

Shabbat, the Jewish Sabbath, is a day of rest, but “rest” doesn’t mean doing nothing — people do many purposeful things on Shabbat. They’re just different from the things that fill the rest of the week. There are many ways that Saturdays are special and different in Jewish families, and all of them are about connection, inspiration, and rejuvenation. Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel, a twentieth-century rabbi and social justice activist, called Shabbat “a palace in time.” By treating this day differently, we create a holy block of time in the midst of our fast-paced, often hectic lives. How special is that?

Shabbat offers time and space to remember the most important things in life, things that are sometimes all too easily passed by when it’s business as usual.

To learn more about Shabbat, pick up one of the story books below:

Books for Babies

My First Shabbat Board Book

My First Shabbat Board Book by Claire Lister

Recommended for ages 6 months and up

The preparations for and celebrations of Shabbat are introduced, showing some of the basic concepts of the Jewish day of rest.

One, Two, Three, Shabbat!

One, Two, Three, Shabbat! by Naomi Shulman

Recommended for ages 6 months to 3 years

Shabbat rituals are filled with rich sensory experiences. When babies and toddlers take part, it’s as easy and fun as 1, 2, 3!

Shai's Shabbat Walk

Shai's Shabbat Walk by Ellie Gellman

Recommended for ages 6 months to 3 years

Come stroll with Shai on Shabbat! He sees many people and things he loves along the way — family, animals, and friends. That’s what Shabbat walks are all about.

Bookes for Ages 3 - 5

The Cholent Brigade

The Cholent Brigade by Michael Herman

Recommended for ages 3 to 5

Monty Nudelman is a neighborhood mensch — every time it snows, he's out there shoveling the walks for all his neighbors. But one day, his back gives out! What do you think his neighbors do?

Saturdays are Special

Saturdays are Special by Chris Barash

Recommended for ages 3 to 5

In this child’s household, Shabbat is different from the rest of the week — slower, quieter, more peaceful. Most of all, everyone has more time to spend with one another. That’s what makes Saturdays so special.

Books for Ages 6+

And There Was Evening, And There Was Morning

And There Was Evening, And There Was Morning by Harriet Cohen Helfand & Ellen Kahan Zager

Recommended for ages 7 and up

When God created the world, each day began in the evening — just as days in the Jewish calendar still do today. This book’s beautiful, high-concept design gives new life to the words of an ancient story.

Bagels From Benny

Bagels From Benny by Aubrey Davis

Recommended for ages 5 to 7

While working in his grandfather’s bakery, Benny learns the joys of giving and receiving, caring and gratitude.

Baxter, The Pig Who Wanted to be Kosher

Baxter, The Pig Who Wanted to be Kosher by Laurel Snyder

Recommended for ages 6 to 7

Upon hearing of the joys and sweetness of Shabbat and, especially, of Shabbat dinner, Baxter the Pig sets out to understand what it means to be kosher.


Why We Chose This Book: Dinosaur on Shabbat