PJ Our Way Havdalah Hub

Posted January 24, 2018  | Written by PJ Our Way Team

Welcome to PJ Our Way's “Havdalah Hub,” where you will find everything you need to make your own Havdalah.

Each Friday evening families around the world bring in Shabbat with favorite foods, company for dinner, and blessings over candles, wine or grape juice, and challah.

Havdalah, or “separation” in Hebrew, is Shabbat’s closing ritual, when three stars appear on Saturday evening. In a simple multi-sensory ceremony, with blessings over lights, wine or grape juice, and spices, Havdalah is an inspiring way to end Shabbat and start the new week as a family.




However your family chooses to make Shabbat special, Havdalah marks a transition back into “everyday time.” Havdalah is the shuttle flight, sweet-and-a-little-sad, that lets you down on the other side.


As rituals go, Havdalah is probably one of the most beautiful – and most straightforward – of all Jewish traditions. There is no meal and no prayer service – just a few minutes of powerful words.


Havdalah is a memorable send-off to Saturday night, with flames and spices dancing in everyone’s heads. But for tweens and parents it’s something else: a lovely mini-ritual that often gives a quick injection of energy with which to start the week.


With light, fragrance, a sweet sip, and a shout-out to Elijah the Prophet, the upshot of Havdalah is that we begin a new week believing in the best possible future – a good way to start the week.


Set up is easy. You need:

  • A cup of grape juice or wine (a kiddush cup is customary, but any cup will do)
  • Pleasant-smelling spices (in a jar, from the garden, in a spice box – however your family prefers)
  • A multi-wick candle (a braided Havdalah candle or any two candles with wicks held together)


To create the right mood, it’s nice to lower the lights or turn them off completely, so the flames of the Havdalah candle can cast their spell. (Most Havdalah candles are drippy, so make sure to put tin foil, newspaper, or a dish underneath.)

Each person has a “job”-- one holds the lit candle, one holds the spices, and another holds the cup of grape juice or wine.

Learn the blessings by singing along with BBYO leaders and following along with your Havdalah cards. You can learn the blessings over wine, spices, fire, and a final blessing.


We end Havdalah with the songs “Shavua Tov (A Good Week),” and “Eliyahu Hanavi (Elijah the Prophet). Elijah is the symbol of human redemption, and reminds us of the world we strive for each new week – a world of peace, compassion, and justice. Shabbaton families at The Temple-Tifereth Israel in Beachwood, Ohio recorded the Havdalah blessings, Shavua Tov, and Eliyahu Hanavi. Play the songs to hear how they sound, and then sing along with them.

Havdalah Blessings


Shavua Tov


Eliyahu Hanavi


Make Your Own Kiddush Cup

image via Kveller

Make your own Kiddush cup to celebrate the beauty and sweetness of Shabbat. All you will need is a wine glass, some permanent markers or paint pens, some glue, and a few plastic gems – all of which can be found at a local craft supply or dollar store.

Braid Your Own Havdalah Candles

image via Design Megillah

The extinguishing of a multi-wicked candle is what brings Shabbat to a close. Pick at least two candles and hold them together or put a rubber band around them. If you’re feeling adventurous, use a hair dryer to carefully soften Hanukkah candles and try braiding them together.

Make Your Own “Havdalah Porcupine” Spice Box

Here’s a popular – if unusual-looking – substitute for a spice box. Take a jar of cloves and an orange, and stud the orange with cloves. (It won’t last forever, but you’ll get some good use out of it.)


Take a few minutes for a mini-discussion before or after Havdalah: “What was special about this Shabbat?” or “What are you looking forward to this week?”


Guess the Spice Game

A great game to play with family and friends is “Guess the Spice.” All you’ll need are some spices from your pantry. Begin by having someone close their eyes (or blindfold them for extra security). Then, pick a spice at random and instruct them to sniff it. See if they can identify which spice is under their nose!

How do you celebrate Havdalah? Comment below to tell us how you celebrate Havdalah and how you use your Havdalah cards.

wont have time, but sounds like a total blast
3/9/2018 6:49:53 PM
I like being Jewish!
2/13/2018 2:08:37 PM
Hi! This sounds fun. I'll try it on Friday. Is there anything else I should know?

2/13/2018 2:04:49 PM
Toda. Great resource. Why do you use a multi wick candle? Why is big fire important?
2/12/2018 5:47:23 PM
This guide should be a downloadable PDF or easily printable -- this is hard to 'take with me' to the kitchen or the table where we would light the candle.
2/12/2018 10:26:51 AM
Click for the BBB Business Review located Agawam, MA