Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.
Breaking News

Bring on the $129 Foldable Shabbat Hot Plate

(JTA) — First there was KosherLamp, the bedside light that could be turned on and off on the Sabbath.

Then came KosherSwitch, the controversial toggle that allows users to control lights and other electronic appliances on Shabbat.

Now there’s HotMat, a new foldable hotplate designed to give observant Jewish consumers a safe, portable and rabbinically sanctioned method of heating up food on the Sabbath.

HotMat is hardly the first Sabbath hotplate on the market. But after a malfunctioning hotplate was blamed for a tragic Brooklyn fire a year ago that killed seven children from a Jewish family, HotMat provides fresh safety features and functionality.

For one thing, it’s the first foldable hotplate on the market, making it ideal for travelers – religious Jews or otherwise. It also offers four separate surfaces for heating food – two that get hot, and two that get warm. (“So you don’t burn your rice,” says creator Rafi Gabbay.)

Jewish law forbids cooking food or using fire on the Sabbath. However, food may be heated or kept warm on Shabbat under certain conditions: The heat must be indirect and non-adjustable, and cold liquids may not be heated at all.

HotMat has been certified for Shabbat use by the Zomet Institute, Israel’s leading designer of electronic devices for use on the Jewish Sabbath, and has been safety-certified by TUV labs, a German safety certification company.

Gabbay, the 37-year-old entrepreneur from Jerusalem who invented HotMat, says creating the product was a way to combine his training in industrial design with his interest in Jewish philosophy.

“I’ve been tinkering with this concept for years,” Gabbay told JTA in a telephone interview from his home in Israel.

“The standard Shabbat hotplate is a product a lot of people don’t like,” he said. “It’s heavy, bulky, often burns the food, and then there’s the issue of safety. It’s a very dangerous product.”

HotMat aims to address those deficiencies. The patented product went through two years of lab testing and refinement to achieve its high safety ratings. The multiple surfaces with varying heat levels are designed to let you keep your soup hot without burning your kugel soufflés (in accordance with Sabbath restrictions, the temperatures are not adjustable). The Teflon-coated aluminum heat surfaces are designed to be easy to store and clean. HotMat weighs about 5 pounds, far less than standard Shabbat hotplates.

HotMat retails for $129 and is newly available in the United States at hotmathotplate.com. After the HotMat went on sale in Israel and Europe last year, the product quickly sold out.

A message from our editor-in-chief Jodi Rudoren

We're building on 127 years of independent journalism to help you develop deeper connections to what it means to be Jewish today.

With so much at stake for the Jewish people right now — war, rising antisemitism, a high-stakes U.S. presidential election — American Jews depend on the Forward's perspective, integrity and courage.

—  Jodi Rudoren, Editor-in-Chief 

Join our mission to tell the Jewish story fully and fairly.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.