Scout Sabbath is observed on the nearest Saturday before or after Scout Sunday in February every year. This year, Scout Sabbath, more commonly written as Scout Shabbat, takes place from February 9 to 9. Scout Shabbat always starts at sundown on the Friday evening and continues into Saturday.
Observing Scout Sabbath serves multiple purposes. Scout Sabbath is organized around Scout Sunday, which celebrates the founding of the Scouts in the United States. It is an opportunity for Jewish scouts to represent their religious pride among the Scouts. In addition, it provides an opportunity for scouts and rabbis to discuss the benefits of scouting in relation to Judaism and Jewish organizations.
History of Scout Sabbath
Scout Sabbath is observed on the Saturday before or after Scout Sunday every year. The religious holiday, also known as Scout Shabbat, is an important opportunity for Jewish Scouts to celebrate the founding of the Scouts in America and exhibit their religious pride.
The Boy Scouts of America (B.S.A.) maintain that Scouts are reverent towards God and respectful of the religious beliefs of others. The B.S.A. also has a Declaration of Religious Principles. In the declaration, the B.S.A. maintains that Scouts are able to grow into good citizens when they recognize their obligation to God and consider religious training as essential.
To this end, the B.S.A. supports local leaders of Scout groups in establishing and maintaining relationships with religious organizations with the support of the Religious Relations Committee. Leaders are also encouraged to start or re-introduce the P.R.A.Y. religious emblems program.
As a result, scouting has been an important part of the youth ministries of many religious organizations, including synagogues. So Scout Sabbath is an important day for Jewish Scouts and for rabbis alike to discuss the importance of scouts to Jewish organizations as well as the relationship between the Scouts and Jewish organizations.
The National Jewish Committee on Scouting encourages Jewish scouts to attend the JCOS-sponsored Scout Shabbat as well as organize a Scout Shabbat service for their unit. They are also encouraged to work with local synagogues to emphasize the Scout Law and Oath at the regular Friday service.
Scout Sabbath timeline
Robert Baden-Powell publishes the book “Scouting for Boys”, which triggers the start of the Scouting Movement.
Since the inception of the Scout Movement in the U.S., scouting becomes used by religious organizations, including churches and synagogues.
The B.S.A. introduces a variety of religious emblems programs to support Scouts in learning about their faith and how to stick to the Scout Law of showing reverence to God.
The National Jewish Committee on Scouting issues emblems for Jewish Boy Scouts and Venturers as a natural progression of the relationship between Scouts and Jewish organizations.
Scout Sabbath FAQs
What is the religion of Scouts?
Scouts require all members to believe in their obligation to God and respect the beliefs and customs of all religions.
How does a Scout show reverence?
Scouts show reverence towards God by being faithful to their religion and its customs, and respecting the beliefs of others.
What do you do on Scout Sunday?
Scout Sunday, Scout Sabbath and Scout Jumuah are all opportunities for Scouts to represent themselves in their religious organizations. They may also receive religious emblems on these days.
How to Observe Scout Sabbath
Attend a Scout Sabbath service
The best way to observe Scout Sabbath is to actually attend a service if you’re Jewish. If you’re not, encourage the Jewish members to host a service for your unit.
Help with the regular Friday service
If you’re Jewish, get involved with your local synagogues and ask your rabbi if your unit can help with the regular Friday service. Make sure you discuss Scout Law at the service if you can.
Educate your unit
Scout Sabbath is a great day to discuss your religion and its customs with your unit. Use this opportunity to educate your unit about your faith.
5 Important Facts About The Scout Movement
The largest youth organization
The Boy Scouts of America is one of the largest scouting organizations and the largest youth organization in the U.S.
Religious emblems are presented during religious services
Since some of the religious emblems, such as the Ner Tamid for Jewish Scouts, were designed and issued by Jewish rabbis, they are presented during religious services in the youth synagogue.
The BSA filed for bankruptcy
After the Church of Latter-Day Saints withdrew its support and funding for the organization, the B.S.A. filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and restructured its finances.
There’s a Jewish Committee on scouting
The Committee was set up in 1926 to provide scouting among Jewish organizations and coordinate the Scout Troops chartered by Jewish organizations.
James West introduced the religious principle
West, a young lawyer, was hired as chief secretary and was responsible for what is known as the religious principle — this included reverence as a necessary quality for young Scouts.
Why Scout Sabbath is Important
We respect all religions
We honor the Scout Law of being reverent to God and respectful to all religions. We think that observing Scout Sabbath is an important way of showing our respect for Judaism and Jewish people.
We want to learn about Judaism
We think that learning about different customs brings us closer together. We want to take this opportunity to learn more about Jewish customs and respect our Jewish Scouts.
We want to honor Jewish Scouts
Jewish organizations have chartered many Scout Troops and we want to honor that relationship. We also want to show our respect for Jewish Scouts as they practice their religious customs.
Scout Sabbath dates