Havdalah Hootenany


Subject: Family Havdalah

Target: Pre-Kindergarten – Kindergarten

Time Frame : 4:00-6:00 p.m.

Congregation: Shaare Emeth

Contributor: Ronnie Brockman and Vicki Platke


Havdalah Hootenanny provides a fun and learning Havdalah Experience for families. 


  1. To create a special Family Havdalah Program.
  2. To create an atmosphere where families can have fun while learning about being Jewish.
  3. To provide opportunities for families to share in enriching their knowledge of Shabbat and Havdalah.
  4. To provide Shabbat time for families to experience.
  5. To provide an opportunity for families to meet other families from the congregation.
  6. To provide time for families to share in creating special moments while enhancing their Jewish identity.
  7. The long-term goal is to introduce Shabbat (and specifically Havdalah) to families so they become more familiar and comfortable with celebrating Havdalah in their homes.


  1. Families will participate in different group activities to learn about Havdalah.
  2. Families will create their own Shabbat rituals.
  3. Each family would go home with a packet of information containing prayers and ideas for special activities to help celebrate Havdalah.

Target Population

Pre-Kindergarten – Kindergarten 


Large room in the synagogue

Staff and Specialists

Family Educator, Chair Person, Music Specialist, Rabbi


Resource Books, Program Supplies, Boxes, stars, jewels, Netting, markers, Spices, food, nametags, Candles, booklet, Office Supplies, Food (Pizza), Drink, Paper goods     


The Family Educator and Chairperson meet to plan the program.  The Chairperson gathers all of the supplies, creates samples, orders the pizza, and buys the necessary materials.  The Family Educator arranges for the music specialist, rabbi, creates the publicity, takes reservations, and creates all handout materials and take-home bags.

Program Acitivities

1.  4:00-4:15 p.m.
Vicki Platke and Ronnie will welcome the families as they register.  Everyone gets a nametag and the program is introduced. One of the educators talks about Havdalah. What is Havdalah?  Havdalah means separation.  What are we separating?  Shabbat from the rest of the week. When do we celebrate Havdalah? When we see three stars on Saturday night.  We do a special service. In the service, we use three ritual items. Does anyone know what they are? Twisted candle, spice box and cup of wine. We will be making a spice box tonight and you can use it when we have our service.  Each family will also be receiving a havdalah candle to take home.

2.  4:15-4:45 p.m.  
Families will participate in making a spice box. Families decorate a spice box that has already been painted. They leave it to dry while they participate in the other activities.
Materials needed: box, glue, jewels, markers.

3.  4:50-5:00 p.m.    
The Families  go on a hunt for the 3 stars.  This is to teach the families that we can begin Havdalah when we see three stars in the sky on Saturday night.

4.  5:05-5:20 p.m.      
Families gather around the table, we will sing Ha Motzi and then have a pizza snack and drink.
Materials needed: small plates, napkins, cups, ice, lemonade, plastic knives.

5.  5:25-5:40 p.m.   
Families gather for Israeli Dancing.
Materials needed: boom box

6.  5:45-6:00 p.m.
Lehitraot Evaluation forms are given out. Each family receives a Havdalah Bag of materials and goodies.
Materials needed: bags, labels with Havdalah Hootenanny, educational materials, goodies.
Families leave.


Each family was given an evaluation form to complete at the end of the program. They were also given take-home activities. Follow-up phone calls were made.

References and Resources

Shapiro, Mark Dov Gates of Shabbat: A Guide for Observing Shabbat Central Conference of American Rabbis, September 1991