How did the ancient Israelites observe the 3rd commandment

This is my first post and I hope I have the right forum. Please let me know if this belongs elsewhere.

I am teaching in an RCIA class and I want to connect the 3rd commandment (“keep holy the Lord’s day”) with the time before Jesus.

I know that the Sabbath started on Friday evening and went to Saturday evening but beyond that I don’t know what actions took place.

How did the Israelites celebrate (if that is the right word) the Sabbath?
Was there a liturgy or ritual sacrifice? If so, when did it occur, on Friday evening or Saturday?
What was the function of the synagogue in the celebration? What about the Temple?
How do modern Jews observe the Sabbath today - or how has the modern observance changed from the ancient observance.

Is there an online resource that can give me some details?

Thanks a bunch in advance for any help.

Exhaustive and often exhausting answers to questions like this - especially where one wants consideration of what happened in ancient times - can be found in the Jewish Encyclopedia. Here they are on the subject of Shabbat.

Simpler descriptions and links can be found on the sites of the ‘usual suspects’ -

Judaism 101;

Jewish Virtual Library;

Chabad; and

My Jewish Learning

I think there’s a tendency amongst Christians - for fairly obvious reasons - to think in terms of the drama of the Temple and the sacrificial system as the central feature of ancient Jewish life.

That’s quite understandable but unrealistic, I’d suggest. For many Jews - certainly by the time of Jesus - the Temple experience would have been more like Muslim Hajj today, possibly a once in a lifetime, rather than weekly, experience. After all, Roman airlines were not flying the Jews of Ostia (say) to Jerusalem every Friday afternoon and bringing them back on Saturday night.

Even in the ‘Holy Land’, the logistics would suggest Synagogue rather than Temple as the main expression/experience of communal religion.

I think those are found in the bible, especially exodus. Douay-Rheims bible is my favorite.

Thank you both for your responses. This will help me a lot,

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