Shabbath Shalom from Israel

Today we travelled to Israel to prepare for the Jewish Sabbath with Lilah, Alona’s mum. Jewish people around the world celebrate the start of the “Shabbath” which is what it is called in Hebrew, on Friday evening when the sun goes down. It was day time in our classroom when we had a little “Shabbath” ceremony because we come to school during the day. We don’t go to school in the night time. Officially “Shabbath” starts on Friday evening, when the sun goes down and ends 24 hours later on Saturday evening, when the sun goes down.

While Lilah was baking with us, Shelley laid the table for “Shabbath.”  On the table, there is a special place for the mother,”ima” in Hebrew and a special place for the father, “abba” in Hebrew. Shelley put two tall candle sticks in front of the “ima’s” chair and a beautiful silver wine cup and saucer, in front of the “abba’s” chair. She then put two long white candles into the candlesticks. The third thing that she put on the table was a large platter and a huge long, braided bread. The bread is called a “challah” and we made our own small “challah” breads. Traditionally on “Shabbath” the bread is long and braided and when it is made for “Rosh Hashanah” which is the Jewish New Year, it is round. Lilah made the long “challah” and had five threads of dough which she braided to make it.     

We covered the large “challah” as you always do on “Shabbath”, until after you say the prayer for the candles and the wine. Shelley reminded us of the poems that she made up for the candles, wine and challah.

You use a match to make a flame, that light these two that have a name

They’re tall and white and give us light, everything single Friday night.

What are they? Yes, they are candles.


I am made of flour, egg and yeast, I turn a meal into a feast

I wear a little coat of white, to hide me from the candle light.

What am I? Yes, I am a challah.

I am made from the fruit of the vine, I’m red or white a taste just fine

You pour me into your silver cup, after the bracha, you drink me up.

What am I? Yes, I am the wine.

We had candles, challah and instead of wine, we had grape juice. Boys cover their heads when they recite prayers in Hebrew and girls sometimes cover their heads too. So we chose some head coverings. We had some scarves for the girls and the boys had a “skull cap” or “kipa” or a “yarmulke”. You can see from the photos how happy we were celebrating “Shabbath” and wearing our head gear.


Alona sang the prayer for the candles, Miles sang the prayer for the wine and they did it together for the “challah”. We all had a piece of “challah” before we had snack and we all had some “wine”. It was such a beautiful experience for us, to share in something that is important for Alona, Miles and their families, since they are Jewish. Shelley was moved by the whole ceremony because before she came to Japan, she only worked in Jewish preschools in both Cape Town and Sydney and they had “Shabbath” every week. She sang some more songs to us e. g. “Shabbath Shalom” and she shook hands with us and said “Shabbath Shalom”. 

Before this we spent a lovely time with Lilah, making our own “challah” which we took home with us at the end of the day. She gave us each a ball of dough and we could make any shape that we wanted to. When we were ready, we brushed the dough and sprinkled sesame seeds on our “challah”. Our classroom smelled like a bakery the whole day. Yummmmmmm!

We want to say a huge thank you to Lilah for coming to our school to bake

with us and celebrate “Shabbath” together with Miles and his mum, Amanda.

Toda raba! This means ‘thank you’ in Hebrew.

   Our day was so full of this wonderful experience, and of course we did some activities, puzzles, stories and more.

We were so happy to welcome Nobu back to school as he has been away sick for so long. Welcome back Nobu kun, we loved seeing you again. Please stay healthy!

The cherry on top and the last thing for today was Jotaro did “SHOW and TELL”. He brought along a large dinosaur called a triceratops. He told us that the triceratops has three horns and he loves dinosaurs. Meg asked him why the triceratops has horns and he wasn’t sure. We also were not sure. Shelley said that she wondered if maybe they used the horns and the armoured plate to protect them from other dinosaurs; especially the T-rex because it is was a carnivore and ate other dinosaurs. Most of the dinosaurs were vegetarian and Dev said: “Like me. I’m a vegetarian”. Thanks for your SHOW and TELL, Jotaro.

Wishing all our friends and their families, a wonderful weekend.

All the children in Petals Class.

Ohana International School