Shabbat: Illuminating Reflections

Jacquie Serebrani-Kesner

There are many rituals to look forward to as we prepare for Shabbat. Whenever I make Challah, I look forward to kneading my reflections and braiding upcoming goals as I prepare the dough. The aroma of baking challah, the anticipation of re-engaging with a restful read, a rejuvenating walk, meditation, and of course, the illumination from the Shabbat candles, all make me feel connected to my past, present and future.

Here’s a Shabbat activity where you can imprint your reflections, together with your children, friends and family (or as a solo reflection).  


  • Air dry clay (I use Crayola air dry white or terra cotta. I discourage model magic as it could crumble with repeated use.)
  • 2 Shabbat candles

Step #1

  • Begin by looking at your hands. Observe the unique prints, the lines, marks and color. 
  • Reflect on your daily routine. What have your hands carried, lifted, washed, held, cared for, felt, touched and created?
  • Take a moment to express gratitude for your hands.

We often don’t realize how important our fingers, thumb and hands are until we bruise or cut a finger or are inhibited by a bandage or an injury.

Step #2:

  • Take a small fist full of clay. Switch it back and forth between your hands. Squeeze it and eventually form a ball with one hand at a time.
  • Observe the shape.
  • Next use two hands to perfect the shape.
  • With a partner, place the ball of clay between your two hands:  Have your partner’s hand on top of the clay while your hand is on the bottom. Press both pieces of clay together.
  • Using balanced pressure, press the clay into a flat disc. (If working solo, press into a disc with both of your hands.)
  • Repeat process so you have two discs of clay.

Step #3:

  • Center your candle on the clay disc and press firmly into the center of clay making a place for the candle to sit.
  • -Remove candle and set aside.
  • Together with a partner, using your finger, press a mark around the outside perimeter of the disc. As you make the mark, think of something you do, or can do together, on Shabbat. For example: reading a book, taking a nature walk, taking a nap, telling stories, playing, making time for meaningful connection, etc. As you and your partner alternate with ideas, press each idea into the clay until the entire disc is filled. Repeat this process with each disc.

Step #4:

  • Allow discs to dry overnight
  • Place candles in holders

Note: There are unlimited possibilities for decoration; leave your Shabbat candle holders natural, or for added color and sparkle, add glitter, paint, colored marking pens, torn tissue paper attached with watered down glue…whatever you do, enjoy the light these Shabbat candles produce and use the imprints as a reminder of activities, rituals, desires and meaningful connections you can share on Shabbat.

Jacqueline Serebrani-Kesner is an interdisciplinary and expressive arts educator. More about Creative Arts Enrichment can be found at Jacquie can be reached at jserebrani@creativeartsenrichment.orgJacquie’s activities are part of a soon to be published compilation of ideas to inspire your spiritual journey.