Half Shabbas

Alternative Spellings

Half Shabbos


  • Describes Sabbath observance by someone (usually a teenager) who observes Shabbat in every respect - except one: they text/SMS/tweet on Shabbat (or use other digital communication). May extend to using other electronic/digital devices as well (e.g. tablets).

Example Sentences

  • "He mixes in a crowd who keep half-Shabbas."
  • "NCSY is on a campaign against keeping half-shabbas."
  • "I'll text you on Friday night - don't worry, I only keep half-Shabbas."
  • "Do you keep full shabbas or half-shabbas?"

Languages of Origin

Textual Hebrew, English

Who Uses This

Orthodox: Jews who identify as Orthodox and observe halacha (Jewish law)


North America




This describes a widely-reported teenage phenomenon among Orthodox youngsters, who are a) semi-addicted to texting, like all teens b) maintain that using cell-phones and the like is not 'really' breaking strict Sabbath laws. Topic was widely discussed in Orthodox circles (and blogs) in 2011-2012. There is a halakhic discussion about the Sabbath-status of the technology; academic in nature, so far!

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