Havdalah (הַבְדָּלָה, “separation”) is our ceremony which marks the end of Shabbat, ushering in the new week.  It is a practice common of all denominations and ethnic groups within Judaism.

Yair Emanuel Wooden Havdallah Set Jerusalem

The ritual involves lighting a special havdalah candle with several wicks, making a brachah over wine or grape juice, and smelling sweet spices. Shabbat ends on Saturday night after the appearance of three stars in the sky.

As this is one of the shortest services in Judaism, many havurot and synagogues find that it is a great occasion to bring members of the community together, or to introduce new folks to a meaningful Jewish tradition. People may gather friends and family at someone’s else, or it could be done at a synagogue, or even at a local park.

Havdalah at Camp Ramah Calif
Image from Camp Ramah in California, ramah.org

What are your favorite havdalah melodies? I really like this one. Sounds like a Jewish summer camp tune: Havdalah blessings with Moishe House and Elana Jagoda. This tune was composed by Debbie Friedman (ז״ל )  What is your favorite melody? Join our conversations here on Coffeehouse Torah Talk, our Facebook discussion group.


Taking leave of Shabbat. My Jewish Learning

Havdalah: Taking Leave of Shabbat. ReformJudaism.Org

Holding havdalah outdoors in the city

Listen to musical settings for havdalah

Music for havdalah from B’nai Jeshrun, the musical synagogue in NYC

Interfaith family: What is havdalah?

Thanks for reading. While you’re here see our articles on Jewish ethics, Halakhah,  Kashrut (keeping kosher) , LifecycleMishnah and Talmud studyphilosophy & theologyTefila (prayer)Torah studyZionism, and our online discussion group, Coffeehouse Torah Talk.
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