14 Shabbat Essentials for Beautiful Friday Nights at Home


If you follow me over on Instagram, you’ll know that my boyfriend, Jordan, and I started a weekly Shabbat tradition about 2 months back. It’s literally been the best thing EVER. And you know I never speak in hyperbole.

The last time I observed Shabbat on a true, weekly basis was the week before I moved to New York City to start college. That was about 8 years ago, so... whoops. Growing up, though, my parents would religiously (heh!) gather all 5 of my siblings and me together for a weekly Friday night meal, followed by services at our local temple. With so many kids, there were always a million different reasons why we couldn’t eat together as a family throughout the rest of the week -- basketball practice, play rehearsals, dance class, piano lessons…so Friday was actually the only night of the week that we were really able to sit down eat together as a family. It was beautiful and lovely and always accompanied by my mother’s fabulous homemade meatloaf, which is another matter entirely.

Truly, that meatloaf deserves its own blog post.

ANYWAY. It’s safe to say that I’m now back in the Shabbat game. And I’m super happy about it. Each week, Jordan and I split up the guest list (three-ish invites for him, three-ish invites for me), make or order way too much food (depending on our energy level and that particular day’s time constraints), pick up a few bottles of wine and a fresh challah (if I’m feeling motivated and/or insane, I’ll make it myself), and do the dang thing.

So! I suppose it’s only natural that I’ve been thinking a lot about how to translate this age-old tradition into one that not only satisfies the 21st-century attention span, but is genuinely beautiful and earnest to boot. It’s fun, absolutely, but it’s also a weighty tradition steeped in heritage and history, and we don’t want either aspect to be lost on our guests -- many of whom have never experienced Shabbat before.

I’ll be sharing some of that thinking over the next couple months right here on the blog, but I’ll start with the most fun part: the things. After all, if you know your kitchen is stocked with the chicest of entertaining staples (think: marble challah boards, pink taper candles, and the kind of bread knives you should really have saved for your wedding registry)...how can you resist inviting people over every week to check them -- and you -- out? You can’t, that’s how.

I’ve compiled my absolute favorite finds below, and I sincerely hope this guide proves helpful for anyone out there hoping to start his/her own weekly tradition. Because the truth is, celebrating Shabbat shouldn’t require you to dig into a musty cedar closet at your Great Aunt Sasha’s house to find a suitable pair of candlesticks.