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This question is distinct from other questions which ask how and when to begin Shabbat, etc. when there is no sunset. I am asking about places in which sunset occurs very late during certain times of the year. For example, in certain very northerly places, sunset occurs as late as almost 2 a.m. during certain periods. In this case, even Plag ha-Mincha is not until 11:30 p.m. Are there any dispensations for celebrating earlier in these times/places, or at least eating earlier? What about in families with young children?

  • Related: judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/608/… – SAH Jun 5 '12 at 12:38
  • I'd ask the question differently: is there any obligation to daven ma'ariv, have a Friday night meal etc if you will never be awake for the zman? – user1581 Jun 5 '12 at 13:21
  • But don't you have to be awake for the zman, for example, to light candles? Pardon my lack of knowledge; I've only ever celebrated one Shabbos. – SAH Jun 5 '12 at 15:56
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    @SAH no, you can light candles that will burn into shabbos. you don't need to light at "candle lighting time" - that's actually the latest you may light. In Anchorage, where shabbos is as you say around this time of year (in part due to DST and crazy time zones that center in Juneau), I held by the zman. A family from Scotland told me they make kiddush, have a roll and go to bed. Kids don't usually make it. And havdallah is done in the morning. – Charles Koppelman Jun 5 '12 at 16:18
  • @Charles Koppelman Is it OK to light candles before Plag ha-Mincha? – SAH Jun 6 '12 at 20:11
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We did a spend a Shabbat in Alaska last summer so I had looked into this. It appears that, when the sun actually sets at night (even late), there is no real dispensation to change things but one needs to adapt the "order of the evening" to the halachic times.

Star-K writes (here) about locations like your case (e.g., Anchorage, Stockholm, Oslo) which experience sunrise and sunset 365 days a year but which, during part of the summer, never get fully dark. Times given as an example for Anchorage on June 22.

One may daven Maariv and begin Shabbos after plag hamincha (9:42pm, one and one quarter halachic hours before sunset) but he should repeat Shema just prior to chatzos halayla (1:55am, the darkest period of time). Shabbos ends shortly after that, at chatzos halayla (2:02am). One may recite the complete havdalah (besides Borai Meoray hoaysh if it is already dawn) after chatzos halayla. Alternatively, one may recite havdalah upon arising Sunday morning (only the brochos of Borei Pri Hagafen and Hamavdil).

In our case, we had a regular dinner in the evening (with Shabbat divrei Torah), then stayed late, lit candles after plag, made kiddush, ate bread, prayed birkat hamazon right away and went to bed.

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