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What is Sabbath Mode? Choosing Star-K Certified Appliances

Neil Katz  |  December 09, 2014  |  5 Min. Read

Yale PSA  |  How to Buy Appliances

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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

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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WHY SHOULD YOU TRUST US?

A few review sites have placed this at the bottom of their articles. So here is our take: Our mission is to find reliable products for you to buy. Other review sites may say this as well.

However, we don’t love every product. Quite frankly, it costs us way too much money in repair costs to support less reliable brands.

In fact, we sell fewer brands than most appliance stores. Here is why:

We feel it is our responsibility to repair your appliances after you buy them.

We now have 30 service technicians, each averaging 8-10 calls a day Monday through Friday, plus another 110 on Saturday. That's over 30,000 service calls logged in one year.

The labor rates of fixing an appliance do not come close to the true cost in any product’s warranty period.

That is why no major retailer has a service department. It costs too much labor, money and time.

Our Blog is a bit different than most others you will read. We cannot write glowing reviews of unreliable products.

Hopefully, the bloggers and organizations who write such glowing product reviews for every brand consider servicing these products first. Only then they will understand the consequences of their marketing.

Neil Katz

Neil Katz has been in appliance sales at Yale Appliance for over 25 years. Neil spends time following the Sox and Patriots and watching the stock market.

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