I’m always on the lookout for new ideas on how to enhance Shabbos throughout the year. Sometimes, I’ll try a new, interesting recipe, or buy a new, non-electronic toy for my kids just because. Especially during a long, hot summer Shabbos, I like to keep things exciting and really make Shabbos the most special day of the week. Disclosure: this post contains commissioned links and images.
During the winter, I’m often content with Shabbos as is- a time to cozy up on the couch under a blanket with a magazine while the kids play nearby. A traditional Shabbos meal, including hot chicken soup of course, followed by family time. But during the summer, we’re all itching to get outside, and socialize more with friends, family and neighbors.
Below are a few great ways to “summer”ize your Shabbos. The general idea is to keep things (especially the food) light and easy, and spend more time playing and socializing, enjoying the beautiful weather while it lasts.
6 Ways to Enhance Shabbos During the Summer
1. Bring the meal outside
Consider eating one of your Shabbos seudos outdoors. This will change things up a bit for you and your family, and you’ll have a wonderful time enjoying Shabbos surrounded by nature.
If you tend to avoid the heat, the Friday night meal might be a better option as it’s usually cooler at night. If you live in an area where mosquitoes abound, invest in mosquito sticks or repellent to place strategically around the patio or deck. Use plastic dishes to make clean up easier.
2. Use more fresh produce
Take advantage of the wonderful fruits and vegetables that are in season during the spring and summer. Make more fresh salads, fruit cobblers, infused water and lots of roasted vegetable sides. They’re not only healthier, but they’re lighter than carb-filled dishes and you’ll enjoy your walk after the meal that much more.
Use fresh fruit in your centerpieces too! Fill tall vases with oranges and lemons for a fresh, summery look.
3. Switch out your dishes
I’m a big fan of plastic dishes. I have real china, but when it’s just the family, I’d rather spend more time enjoying our time together than standing over a sink. If you want something a little sturdier, or don’t want to be constantly buying, consider reusable melamine dishes. They’re far cheaper than china, and you can buy bright-colored, springy dishes just for the season.
4. Potluck Seuda Shlishit
Want to socialize more during the summer months? Get all the neighborhood women together for the third meal. Indoors or outdoors, you’ll find this to be a beautiful way to enhance Shabbos.
Have one person host and delegate- have some women bring food, another bring drinks, and another paper goods. This is one of my favorite ways to get to know my neighbors, and it’s a lot of fun for everyone involved.
5. Get out of the kitchen
Yes, you read that right. Don’t spend too much time over a hot oven. Keep Shabbos meals in the summer simple, with quick and easy to prepare dishes, more salads, or one pot meals.
The best thing I did to enhance Shabbos in the summer for myself was investing in an Instant Pot, an electronic pressure cooker. My apartment has poor ventilation and having more than one burner on leads to the whole place getting extremely hot. In my Instant Pot, I can easily make a few delicious Shabbos meals, without dealing with the unbearable heat. Most of your regular recipes can easily be reconfigured to cook in an Instant Pot.
6. Keep the meals light
There’s no need for heavy meals on Shabbos in the summer. Skip the matzah ball soup and make cold soup, like gazpacho or fruit soup instead. Some people like to go for a dairy or pareve meal instead of a heavy meat meal. Find what works for your family and go for it.
What kind of things do you and your family do to enhance Shabbos during the summer? Comment below!