Saturday, June 19, 2010

Shabbat (Sabbath Day)

The weekend in Israel is Friday and Saturday. On Friday everything seems to shut down around noon and they don't reopen until after sundown on Saturday. The grocery store was packed yesterday morning as everyone was getting what they needed before the weekend started. The taxis don't run unless the company is owned by Muslims. Even the city buses stop running. The parking lot to the mall is blocked off. Shabbat is truly a holy day of rest very different from how we treat Sunday in America. There used to be blue laws in America where restaurants and other businesses would be closed on Sunday but the only business I know of that is still closed on Sundays is Chick-fil-a. The only blue law still on the books I'm aware of is you can't buy alcohol on Sunday before noon.

On Shabbat some Jewish sects refrain from any work at all on Sabbath and that includes using electronics even turning on and off lights. The elevators at the hotel are set to stop on every floor on Saturday so no button pushing is required. In the rooms themselves there is a Shabbat clock that guests may use. Pressing this button will turn off all the lights in the room except for the bathroom light and desk lamp at 11pm and will turn them back on an hour before Shabbat ends. I've noticed few cars going by on the road than other days of the week. The restaurants in the hotel have restricted menus today if they are serving at all. I think the menu restrictions have something to do with Kosher food laws but I don't know much about those yet.

I will also have to get used to the idea that Sunday is going to be the new Monday for me. Once school starts I will be attending classes on Sunday's which is going to feel very strange.


  1. Hobby Lobby is also always closed on Sundays. One of the very few nice things about the time I worked there.

    Very interesting post! I love that the elevators are set to not require "work" in the form of button pushing. I never would have imagined that. Sounds like a pretty intense shift for you. At least in Japan my weekend is on the same days as it was in America. You're in for an adventure for sure!

  2. Grandma & Grandpa said...

    Once again we learn new things from our favorite Granddaughter. We have never done "blogging" before. This is really a wonderful way to share your experiances. Your blogs are very interesting and educational for all of us and we are very appreciative of your sharing your day with us.
    It also keeps us from wondering how you are doing. Thanks for sharing.
    Grandma and Grandpa

  3. Very interesting, I wonder what effects Shabbat has on the power grids there. With lights off, and I'm assuming that there is a marked reduction in the use of computers and electronic games, as well, that would really add up. I bet it's going to be a big adjustment for you to have things all closed up on the Sabbath. Let us know how you handle the adjustment.