How Shabbat reaches people with learning disabilities

26 February 2019

Everyone should be able to enjoy Shabbat, but not everyone in our community can easily join their friends and family in our tradition.

Here at Norwood we believe that everyone should be able to celebrate Shabbat, and having a learning disability should not be a barrier to participating in this important and joyous celebration.

Here at Norwood we have produced a range of resources for parents and carers to ensure that everyone is able to participate in and enjoy Shabbat together.

Your Shabbat Blessings with visual aids

Shabbat Candle Blessing

Light two (or more) Shabbat candles. Raise your hands up toward the candles, and move them inward in a circular motion three times to bring the warmth of Shabbat into the home. Then, cover your eyes and recite the blessing. After reciting the blessing, wish each other a Shabbat Shalom.

Shabbat Wine Blessing (Kiddush*)

Raise the Kiddush cup filled with wine or grape juice in your right hand (unless you are left-handed) and recite the blessing aloud. Pour from the Kiddush cup into other cups, pass to everyone present and drink.

Shabbat Bread Blessing

The two loaves of challah are uncovered and held up together. The two loaves are symbolic of the double portion of Manna that the Israelites received every Friday in the desert. The blessing is then recited aloud. Cut from one challah, dip into salt and pass to everyone present and eat.

Download the Shabbat blessings here

Shabbat resources

Challah recipe

Allowing independence in an activity and the ability to complete a task is empowering for a child. Please download our Challah recipe card for a step by step guide on how to make Challah with your learning disabled child.

Download here

Top 10 tips

Please download this useful guide developed by Norwood’s Speech and Language Therapy and Occupational Therapy teams for an inclusive Shabbat for all.

Download here

How your synagogue can create a more inclusive Shabbat

We all have a responsibility to support the vulnerable people in our community. Being inclusive is a fundamental part of Judaism and this is highlighted through the many examples from the Torah and from our Jewish tradition which emphasises the importance of being inclusive of all people and at all times.


Read more here