Shabbat on Vacation

— Meredith Jacobs, “The Modern Jewish Mom

Ahh, summer. Time for vacation. Time to be so relaxed it takes some effort to remember what day it is. Including Friday and Saturday. But, just ’cause you’re on vacation, doesn’t mean you have to take a vacation from Shabbat.

If Shabbat has become part of your weekly routine, how can you continue to have a Friday night Shabbat dinner while on vacation?  
The Modern Jewish Mom's Guide to Shabbat
Simple. Make a travel Shabbat box.

A friend of mine simply packs a plastic bag filled with various Shabbat items her children have made over the years–candlesticks, challah covers, Kiddush cups and she also includes yarmulkas for her husband and son. She even updates the bag as her little “artists” create new crafts.

Another option is to buy a Shabbat box. I’ve seen some beautiful metal boxes that have built-in candle holders and are large enough to hold candles. The idea being, you use a wine glass from the restaurant rather than an “official” kiddush cup and regular bread for the motzi. I know it’s not challah, but at least you’re doing something to observe Shabbat with your family–that’s what’s important. Your children should know Shabbat continues no matter where you are–and it also shows that you are proud to be Jewish and can observe in a restaurant (you can always light the candles in the hotel room if that’s more comfortable).

If you don’t want to buy a box, I’ve designed a project using an Altoids mint box (hence the title “Curiously Strong” Shabbat Box”). If you have room in your bag for mints, then you have room for this Shabbat box.

Shabbat fits easily with any vacation–after all, both vacation and Shabbat are times to slow down, relax and focus on family.

“Curiously Strong” Shabbat Box

Got room in your bag for mints?  Then you have room for a traveling Shabbat Box.


  • Altoids box (or similar)
  • Gems (may have some left over from Jeweled Kiddush Cups)
    Glue that adheres metal
  • Bake-able clay (like Sculpey)
  • Shabbat candles

Step 1: Glue gems onto tin box (I used an Altoids mint box) Hint: plan pattern before you glue.

Step 2: Cut candles to fit into box. Measure remaining space and form a block of clay that will fit into the box.

Step 3:  Press candles into clay to make holes.


Step 4:  You may press extra gems into clay before baking. Bake clay according to directions.


Step 5:  Pack and enjoy Shabbat wherever you go!

Meredith Jacobs is the author of The Modern Jewish Mom’s Guide to Shabbat.


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