January 20, 2019

In Israel, Saturday Wears Many Hats

“When a vital resource has to be shared by different groups of people who each need to use that resource in profoundly different ways, it’s only natural that each group will claim that resource as its own while trying to delegitimize the claims of all others. Great rivalry is sure to ensue as a result of this competition, as each group attempts to prove the validity of its claim by showing how this resource is integrally connected to the group’s value system.

In Israel we have a resource which different groups try to claim as their own – Shabbat. Shabbat is viewed in totally different terms by different groups in our society, who each try to prove to all others – unsuccessfully – that their philosophy of Shabbat is the valid one.

For some, Shabbat is expected to supply all the functions of a “weekend” in a Western society – a day for rest and relaxation, for shopping, for pursuing hobbies, for cultural and social activities, for get-togethers on a family, national and even international level. Then there’s another group that sees Shabbat as a spiritual, regenerative day, a day of turning inward to self, to family, to community. This group feels that the spiritual nature of Shabbat preserves the uniqueness of the Jewish people and is concerned that allowing the official national dilution of the essence of the day will divest the country of all vestiges of spirituality.

There’s clearly little room for compromise or sharing in this situation. But more importantly, it’s not healthy that Israelis should have to choose between one type of day or another. Relaxation, recreation, and spirituality fulfill different needs in a person, and Israelis mustn’t be forced to choose between them; rather they need to be able, if they wish, to choose all of them.

Shabbat is a wonderful spiritual day, but in the reality of our lives today, a relaxed Sunday following Shabbat is a basic necessity for all of us.”

Read more

JJ Editor's Picks

"Not even what one might think of as the most basic tenet of any religion, a belief in the existence of God, is a prerequisite: Agnosticism is a key principle of at least one major school of Hindu philosophy."

"The presidency of any particular incumbent is relatively short... but the precedential consequences of impeaching a president without complying with the specific provisions of the Constitution “as it was written” are enduring."

"After news that a judge allegedly provided sexual favors to Bar Association president Efi Nave in exchange for her appointment, several politicians said in their responses that the Judicial Selection Committee needed to be the “Holy of Holies.”"

"Two new documentaries take on Billy McFarland and his disastrous music festival... the secret villain of this story all along: the subtle menace of social media marketing."

"Eating out, ordering in. Throw in a bagel here, a coffee there, and it all adds up. "It's definitely a challenge for people my age to save on food.""

"Popular music is shrinking. From 2013 to 2018, the average song on the Billboard Hot 100 fell from 3 minutes and 50 seconds to about 3 minutes and 30 seconds. "

"Here in the good old U.S. of A, the third annual Women's March planned for Jan. 19 is in serious trouble, thanks to irreconcilable political disagreements."

"Nature, however, with its endless cycles of death and rebirth, fascinated her. Walking in the woods, she developed a method that has become the hallmark of her poetry, taking notice simply of whatever happens to present itself."

"Modern parents haven’t stopped playing favorites; they’ve just stopped doing it openly. Though few parents today will admit they have a favorite child, studies indicate that about two-thirds of parents do."

"The first science-based diet that tackles both the poor food eaten by billions of people and averts global environmental catastrophe has been devised."

"Sphen and Magic looked like they would make great, diligent, careful egg-warming parents. They made the biggest nest, and they sat on it constantly."

"How YMHAs, followed by synagogue-centers, and finally JCCs have tried—in different ways—to balance Judaism and Jewishness, by bringing Jews together in intellectual, spiritual, and physical pursuits"