Keeping shabbat in Hong Kong

Shabbat, the sacred day of rest in Jewish tradition, holds immense significance for Jewish individuals and communities around the world. While keeping Shabbat in a bustling metropolis like Hong Kong may present unique challenges, it is indeed possible to honor this cherished tradition.

This article explores the experience of keeping Shabbat in Hong Kong, highlighting the various aspects of preparation, observance, and community involvement that enable individuals to embrace Shabbat's spiritual and cultural richness.

Preparing for Shabbat 

The preparations for Shabbat begin well before sundown on Friday. Jewish families and individuals engage in activities such as cleaning and tidying their homes, preparing meals in advance, and ensuring that they have the necessary supplies for the day of rest.
This preparation allows us to enter Shabbat with a sense of peace and readiness.

Observing Shabbat Traditions

Observing Shabbat in Hong Kong involves adhering to a range of traditional practices. Lighting the Shabbat candles marks the onset of this sacred time, symbolising the separation between the mundane and the holy.
Jewish families in Hong Kong gather around the Shabbat table to recite blessings over the challah (traditional bread) and wine, partaking in the joyous rituals that accompany the Shabbat meal.
The cessation of work and the prohibition of certain activities during Shabbat create a distinct atmosphere of rest and reflection. Jewish individuals in Hong Kong abstain from activities such as using electronic devices, driving, and engaging in commerce, thus immersing themselves in the tranquility and spiritual rejuvenation that Shabbat offers.

Shabbat, Family and Community

In Hong Kong, where the Jewish community may be relatively small, seeking connections with fellow Jews becomes an essential aspect of Shabbat observance. Jewish families and individuals often come together to celebrate Shabbat in synagogues or communal centers.
These gatherings provide an opportunity to pray together, share meals, and engage in spirited discussions about Jewish teachings and values.
Our synagogue organises Shabbat services, communal meals, and educational programs, creating a welcoming environment for locals and visitors alike to experience the beauty of Shabbat observance.

Honoring Shabbat in a Multicultural Environment

Hong Kong's multicultural nature presents unique challenges and opportunities for keeping Shabbat. Jewish individuals and families navigate a society that may be unfamiliar with Jewish customs and traditions. However, the city's cosmopolitan atmosphere also allows for remarkable dialogue and cultural exchange among the different families and backgrounds.
By sharing Shabbat rituals and traditions with friends, colleagues, and neighbours, Jewish individuals in Hong Kong can foster understanding and appreciation for our religious practices.
Additionally,  shabbat meals options are available in Hong Kong at the JCC. Jewish specialty stores, online platforms, and kosher-certified restaurants offer a diverse range of kosher products and meals, ensuring that individuals can adhere to their dietary requirements while observing Shabbat at home.


Let's keep it together

Keeping Shabbat in Hong Kong requires intention, preparation, and community involvement. Despite the unique challenges of living in a vibrant metropolis, Jewish individuals and families in Hong Kong find ways to honor Shabbat's sanctity and embrace its traditions.

Through preparations, observance of rituals, seeking community connections, and navigating the multicultural environment, Shabbat becomes a cherished time of spiritual rejuvenation and communal celebration.

By embracing Shabbat in Hong Kong, Jewish individuals and families not only preserve their religious heritage but also contribute to the rich tapestry of cultural diversity that defines the city.