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What is Sabbath Mode? Choosing Star-K Certified Appliances

December 9th, 2014 | 2 min. read

By Neil Katz

Sabbath Mode, also known as Shabbos/Shabbat mode, is a feature in many new home appliances which allows the appliance to be used by Shabbos-observant Jews on the Jewish Holidays.

As part of this Jewish Holiday, Jews are forbidden to do any creative type work on this day. Most of the time that means not preparing food or even closing a switch or pressing an electronic button during this period.

In 1997 Whirlpool Corporation, approached the Star-K kosher certification agency to create a technology so advanced that would allow Shabbat observers to be able to use their appliances during this time. After much trial and error a successful mode was created. Whirlpool called this “Sabbath Mode” and was awarded the patent in 1998 for the concept.

Stoves / Cooking

Star-K certification is devised of two categories. The first is the most commonly known, Sabbath Mode. This includes models that have unique hardware designed into them that specifically address the concerns of an observant Jew. Sabbath mode does not allow us to turn these appliances on or off on Sabbath. It will enable us to use this appliance within the guidelines of halacha.

The second certification, Sabbath Compliant, includes models that the manufacturer wanted Star-K to assess for use by the observant Jew. Appliances certified with Sabbath Compliant have the same basic features of those as Sabbath mode, except no delay is built into the set temperature change process. Because of this, the temperature cannot be changed on Yom Tov. There are a couple of items where the temperature can be adjusted, however they do not have a digital temperature control. Instead, an indicator light will cycle on and off with the heating element.

Cooking Products with Sabbath Mode Feature

jennair refrigerator with sabbath mode

Jenn Air JFC2290VEM Counter Depth Refrigerator

electrolux refrigerator with sabbath mode

Electrolux EI23BC80KS Counter Depth Refrigerator


Refrigeration tends to be a little different. There has always been a question on when to open the refrigerator door on Shabbos. Also, the heating elements within the appliances have made it difficult to reach the Star-K requirements. Because of this, Star-K has developed a set of requirements that use modern technology to address some of these concerns.

When the Sabbath Mode is turned on, you do not have to worry about lights, alarms, or fans being turned on or off when opening or closing the door. There is a built-in delay preventing the compressor from turning on immediately. The defrost cycle operates only on the clock time without needing any feedback from the owner’s regular usage. Also during this time the ice and water will be turned off, as these functions normally work using the electrical solenoids and motors.

Cooking Products with Sabbath Mode Feature

bosch slide-in range with sabbath mode

Bosch Range HGIP054UC Slide-In Range

jennair range with sabbath mode

Jenn Air JGS1450BDP Gas Range

Although most refrigeration and cooking products have some type of Sabbath mode feature, I would definitely ask your sales rep to make sure. You want to have the correct expectations when using the appliance in your home. We typically have customers that inquire specifically about it, based on how they observe the Holiday. So just be careful as most manufacturers are different.

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Neil Katz

Meet Neil Katz, a legend in the world of appliances with over 30 years of experience at Yale. When he's not guiding others toward their ideal culinary havens, you'll find Neil wholeheartedly supporting Boston sports teams and cherishing precious moments with his beloved grandkids. With a genuine passion for helping people and a wealth of expertise, Neil is dedicated to making appliance choices, and kitchen designs a seamless and satisfying experience for all.

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