Does the coronavirus have you stuck at home for Shabbat, isolated from your synagogue and social group? Not sure how to celebrate alone? Here are 10 tips to make this Shabbat as pleasant and rejuvenating as possible:

1. Prepare Shabbat Feasts

“Anyone who puts in the effort to prepare on the eve of Shabbat will eat on Shabbat,” say the sages of the Mishnah. Stuck at home on Friday? Assuming you have access to groceries, use the time to make your own challah, boil up a steaming pot of delicious chicken soup (“Jewish penicillin”), prepare fish, salad, chicken, kugel, and, of course, some hearty cholent to be enjoyed at Shabbat lunch.

We have all the best recipes waiting for you at those links.

If you are unable to prepare Shabbat food, please reach out for help. Your local Chabad emissaries can help, so please alert them to your need as soon as possible.

2. Have Liquid Soap and Cut Paper Towels on Hand

With a premium placed on regular and thorough hand washing, be sure to have a supply of liquid soap at home since bar soap can be problematic on Shabbat.

Since we don’t tear paper towels to size on Shabbat and using regular hand towels is out for the time being, prepare a stack of pre-cut paper towels near the bathroom and kitchen sinks for easy and sanitary washing.

Alcohol-based hand sanitizer is perfectly OK for Shabbat use.

3. Get Some Good Kiddush Wine

Holding the ceremonial cup of wine for Kiddush or Havdalah.
Holding the ceremonial cup of wine for Kiddush or Havdalah.

So you’re stuck at home, but Shabbat is still a time of delight.

How about one of the fine kosher wines (or grape juice) that are available today, both for Kiddush and throughout the meal (with moderation, of course). This may be the week to spend an extra dollar or two on something special to honor Shabbat.

After making kiddush, there’s no need to pass the wine cup around for everyone to take a sip or to pour into other’s cups. Instead, let everyone have their own glass of wine or grape juice in front of them while one person makes kiddush for all. In some ways, that’s even better, because then people can drink as soon as kiddush is said, without delay.

As joyous as things may get, careful not to clink those glasses when making a l’chaim.

4. Print Up Some Good Reading Material

Looking for something uplifting and engaging to read while snuggled up at home? Before Shabbat, go to, and print the articles and stories we’ve published this week, especially some articles from our acclaimed Parshah section. There’s something there for everyone, and probably more than a few somethings to help you through the long afternoon.

5. Make a Schedule in Advance

With so many hours in isolation, it’s easy to feel like you are on a never-ending hamster wheel. It can be helpful to designate landmarks to demarcate the passing of time and give you something to look forward to.

So plan in advance. Decide what time you’ll pray, when you’ll have your meals, when you’ll study Torah, take your Shabbat nap, etc., so that the day does not seem to stretch on forever.

6. Make Pre-Shabbat Phone Calls

Feeling like you need a good boost of social interaction before heading into 25 hours of isolation? Call friends and family before Shabbat to wish them a peaceful and healing Shabbat.

Tell them you’ll be thinking of them and ask them to think of you as well.

Fill your social tank to the fullest, and use that fuel to propel you through to Havdalah.

7. Pray a Little Extra When Lighting Your Candles

Lighting Shabbat candles a few weeks ago at the height of the coronavirus outbreak.
Lighting Shabbat candles a few weeks ago at the height of the coronavirus outbreak.

Shabbat candles must be lit in every Jewish household before Shabbat. This is the case even if there is no woman present. Are you isolated in a male-only home? Make sure you (or another one of the guys) lights candles.

Before lighting, make sure to give some charity. Today, that’s a cinch to do online. Charity, according to our tradition, provides a shield of immunity around you at times such as these. And the time immediately before lighting candles is an especially propitious time for creating that shield.

After you’ve lit the candles and said the blessing, ask the One Above for all your needs. Use this time to pray for healing and happiness for the world.

8. Make Your Home a Mini-Synagogue

Even though you cannot attend synagogue, there is no reason not to pray alone.

With the exception of Kaddish, the Barechu call to prayer, the repetition of the Amidah, and the Torah reading, you can pray anywhere in the world, including your home.

So make sure you have a siddur handy and a place set aside to serve as your ad hoc shul. If you are with others, pray together. Even though you don’t make a minyan, you can say the words and sing the songs together.

Wondering when to hold services? Actually, the best time to do so is when your local congregation is doing so. That way, you’re actually praying in tandem with them, even though you cannot see each other.

9. Exercise Your Positivity Muscles

Medical experts and Chassidic masters all agree that staying positive and full of faith can help you maintain your good health, keep up your immune system and even recover more quickly from illness.

Upping our happiness is an art, one that we can learn and perfect with practice and patience.

Not sure where to start? Here are two simple steps:

  1. Tell yourself: Everything is in G‑d’s hands; He loves me, and I am going to be OK.
  2. Now smile.

Repeat as many times as necessary.

10. Belt Out Shabbat Songs

Going stir crazy from the silence? Fill it with Shabbat songs.

There’s a longstanding tradition to sing zemirot (hymns) at the Shabbat table, and there’s no reason to stop singing just because the crowd is a bit smaller than usual. On the contrary, fill the space with louder singing, joyful singing and more happiness than ever. It’s the best thing you can do for your immune system!