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photo of a parent and child saying Shabbat blessings, child is eating challah

Shabbat Resources

Everyone can experience a joyful and meaningful Shabbat! Browse and download Shabbat resources for kids with diverse learning needs, prepared by Gateways’ experienced special education teachers. 

The Gateways Shabbat Family Companion

The newly-released Gateways Shabbat Family Companion is an excellent addition to any Shabbat celebration. This beautiful book, rich with Mayer-Johnson picture symbols, explanations, and photos offers a deeper look into Shabbat blessings and rituals to help participants understand what they’re doing and saying and why. Use the Shabbat Family Companion at your dinner table or in a synagogue or school setting.

Shabbat Blessings with Picture Communication Symbols®

Illustrating each word of the blessing with a symbol helps to make this blessing more accessible and understandable for pre-readers and students with disabilities. Students can use these downloadable printouts to follow along with the blessing, learn how to recite the blessing, and learn the blessing’s meaning.

The blessings are illustrated with Tobii Dynavox Picture Communication Symbols®. Additional Shabbat blessings illustrated with Picture Communication Symbols® can be found in The Gateways Shabbat Family Companion.

Blessing Over Candles

picture symbol of a hand lighting a candle

Kiddush

picture symbol of a kiddush cup

HaMotzi

image symbol for HaMotzi

Shabbat Social Stories: Going to Temple

People with disabilities and diverse learning needs can feel anxious about things that are unfamiliar. Social stories can set them up for success by explaining different situations and expectations.  

Going to Temple on Shabbat

This story illustrates what goes on in a temple on Shabbat, and explains how people usually dress and behave when they go to temple. 

People Wear Special Clothes to Temple

This story describes the nice clothes that people wear to temple. It also explains that people in temple wear kippot and tallitot. This story will be helpful for children who may be anxious about a change in their normal dressing routine. It may also help children who like to plan what they want to wear in advance.

image symbol of a woman at temple

How People Behave in Temple

This story briefly explains that people in temple need to stay in their seats and have quiet voices. Clearly outlining the behavior that is expected in temple is helpful to children with disabilities. In addition to reviewing this story before going to temple, parents may bring it to temple if their children would benefit from reminders of what proper temple behavior looks like.

image symbol of a frustrated person

Things I Can Do During a Long Service

Sitting through Shabbat services can be a challenge for anyone! This story suggests some appropriate activities to keep children from becoming bored during a long service. Fill-in-the-blanks encourage parents and children to talk in advance about how they plan to stay occupied.

Shabbat Activities

image symbol for file folder activities

Shabbat Color Match File Folder Activity

File folder activities are puzzles contained in file folders that are quick and easy to make, and fun for students to do over and over again!  In this activity, students sort sets of Shabbat candles, kiddush cups, and challah covers by color.  This activity will help students become more familiar with the objects that families use on Friday nights. 

picture of Shabbat schedule worksheet

Make a Friday Night Schedule

File folder activities are puzzles contained in file folders that are quick and easy to make, and fun for students to do over and over again!  In this activity, students sort sets of Shabbat candles, kiddush cups, and challah covers by color.  This activity will help students become more familiar with the objects that families use on Friday nights. 

image symbol for rest

Shabbat is a Day of Rest Worksheet

This story illustrates what goes on in a temple on Shabbat, and explains how people usually dress and behave when they go to temple. 

image symbol for memory game

Shabbat Memory Game Picture Cards

This story illustrates what goes on in a temple on Shabbat, and explains how people usually dress and behave when they go to temple. 

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