Shabbat is the Jewish Sabbath, a 25-hour day of rest and communal activities at the end of every week that traditional Jews observe in imitation of God, who rested on the seventh day of creation.

Shabbat meals are held Friday evening and Saturday midday, bringing together family and, often, friends and neighbors to share special foods, hold lively discussions related to Torah and mitzvot (good deeds) and sing Shabbat songs.

On Friday evening, Shabbat begins with the lighting of two or more candles. At both Shabbat meals, the table invariably boasts two beautiful loaves of challah, or braided egg bread, on a special tray. A blessing is said over wine and, after ritual handwashing, another blessing is said over the bread to begin the meal, which usually features meats, multiple side dishes and salads and sumptuous desserts.