How to Keep Shabbat at the Mall of America

It is always a little bit weird for a pulpit rabbi to spend Shabbat away from his/her congregation. It’s filled with a break in routine, challenge of optimal family time balanced with replenishing spiritual ammo, and a little bit of worry about your congregation. I have tried my best on Shabbatot off to visit new congregations to gain new knowledge and experience for my own synagogue. But this past Shabbat, unable to get out of town and needing to cash in my free night at the Radisson Blu Hotel (won at the JCC Golf Tournament), my family and I headed to the Mall of America. How does one turn the place with the largest foot traffic in the United States into a spiritual home?

Well truth be told, there was not too much spirituality. I tried to channel my inner-USY-on-Wheels experience to make my surroundings Jewish. We did not have a minyan, although I assume there were 10 Jews at MoA on Saturday. So I prayed by myself. But my wife and I decided to find ways to make our daughters have fun without breaking Shabbat. Below was our schedule and it turns out there was lots to do!


All rooms at the Radisson Blu come with a mini fridge, so meals were done inside the room. However, because it was Halloween weekend there was a promotional going on called Salty and Sweet. This meant that we got to swing by a designated area and pick up snacks along the way. This included Doc Popcorn and Dippin’ Dots.

Friday Night Lights

One of the best parts of being there on Halloween weekend was the Friday night dance and light show. After Shabbat dinner we went downstairs to see the performance. A little different than a musical Shabbat at Temple of Aaron but the girls had a blast watching the show. This was free to the public and a great nighttime mood setter.

Disney Door

Every day the Disney store has a grand opening and one lucky child gets to unlock the door and receive a special key. Because we were not shopping on Shabbat my daughter was easily the first in line. This is not an electronic key either, so we were all set and my daughter felt like a princess! She still has the special key ready to open the Magic Kingdom at any time.


The Lego store always has a free Lego building area. This was a great way to enjoy some down time for the parents and let the kids play freely.

Scavenger Hunt

There was a pumpkin scavenger hunt throughout Nickelodeon Universe. Was my oldest daughter bummed about not going on rides? Sure, but the pumpkin hunt was a nice Shabbat walk for the parents. We found all the clues, memorized the answers (because we do not write on Shabbat) and of course the girls received their free prize at the end.

There were more things going on at the mall. A flute concert marathon (the girls were uninterested) and a Kendama tournament. Of course, a big Shabbat nap was necessary as well. We used our annual pass to Sea Life to cap off a fun and relaxing Stay-Shabbos. There were obstacles like seeing people we knew and having to explain to them why we were at the mall. But overall, it was a relaxing way to spend Shabbat with the family and be off the bimah. Looking forward to more Stay-Shabbatot.