web analytics
October 21, 2014 / 27 Tishri, 5775
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post
Meir Panim with Soldiers 5774 Roundup: Year of Relief and Service for Israel’s Needy

Meir Panim implements programs that serve Israel’s neediest populations with respect and dignity. Meir Panim also coordinated care packages for families in the South during the Gaza War.



Home » InDepth » Op-Eds »

Shabbat Shalom, Jerusalem

Let’s bring back the country’s Jewish soul and return the sanctity of Shabbat to the public sphere.
Shabbat in Jerusalem.

Shabbat in Jerusalem.
Photo Credit: Kobi Gideon / FLASH90.

“The entire world was endowed with ten measures of beauty.  Of these, Jerusalem received nine” (BT Kiddushin 49b).

Once every week its beauty is further enhanced, as Shabbat arrives in the holy city, the approach of the day of rest enwrapping David’s city with sanctity and radiance.  A special tranquility descends on the city of God.  The last of the market stalls have closed, served notice by the trumpets and shofars blasting around them in accord with Talmudic tradition.  Tourists and guests leisurely make their way to the Western Wall, dressed in festive white, accompanied by the waning light of the sun as it sets in the Mediterranean to the west, the city walls engilded in its glow.  Myriads of Jews hurry to the synagogues scattered throughout the city to welcome Shabbat, while the unobservant too are elevated by the unique atmosphere of a Shabbat in Jerusalem.

But this special atmosphere is threatened by an enemy.

His name is M., an entrepreneur from Jerusalem who is leading the campaign to put Jerusalem commercial life into motion on Shabbat.  M. was a contractor before he turned entrepreneur.  On his way to Jerusalem he made a stop at the port of Tel Aviv, where he opened restaurants and bars.  Now he is bringing his Tel Avivian wares to the capital.  He rented the historic train station by Liberty Bell Park, in the heart of Jerusalem, from Israel Railways and the Ministry of Transporation; handsomely renovated the property; and divided it up for rental to business owners.  By the old rails he put up clothing and art stands, and even put aside space for a produce market—just like in Mahaneh Yehudah, they say in the municipal government, except that here the prices will be sky high.

According to the old Gashah Hiver routine, every store is a “boutique.”  Surely enough, the commercial zone that M. has designated for stores and stands is advertised not as a market, but as a “cultural entertainment area.”  The semantics here are very important.  The idea is to use this name to circumvent municipal bylaws and the Hours of Work and Rest Law that was put on the books to cement Shabbat as the national day of rest.

Here’s how it works: since cultural activity counts as rest, having an entertainment area open on Shabbat is consistent with the status quo and municipal bylaws, as long as the tomato stands are interspersed with dancing girls and there are clowns on stilts walking around among the haberdashers.  Hence this is not a commercial space, but a street theater.  Judges have already issued rulings determining that cinemas and theaters may open on Shabbat.

All M. has to do then is find non-Jewish (i.e. Arab) workers, so that if Labor Ministry inspectors come along, there will be no fines for violation of the Hours of Work and Rest Law.

Next, the shopkeepers of Mahaneh Yehudah will come and say they also want to keep their stalls open on Shabbat, and they also will be given the okay to stay open, as long as they bring in some clowns.  The workers there are Arabs as it is.  They even can argue with some justification that there is no need for clowns and musicians: the calls of some of the salespeople there reveal real musical and comedic talent, as any Jerusalemite can attest.

Start Worrying

If we don’t do something, additional businesses will want to join the competition for customers on Shabbat.  Few will stay behind.  The extra business would substantially increase the financial turnover of the Shabbat violators, thus allowing them to offer better prices even during the week. Competitors will be unable to match them and will go out of business, or else join them.

This is an election year for the mayor of Jerusalem, so although there is much that he could do, he is doing nothing.  It is even possible that having the area open on Shabbat will benefit him, coming as it does in the middle of the anti-Haredi wave that is sweeping the country.

What is there to do?  Assemble a social protest movement to protect Shabbat as the day of rest and a key national value.  Successful protest movements are in at the moment.

Then there is another solution:  In the United States of the thirties and forties, Shabbat -observant businesses found themselves in competition with businesses that were open on Shabbat, which gave the competition an additional day of financial turnover while the observant business people were sitting at home or in their synagogues.

In response, religious Jewry and its rabbis developed a defensive economic measure.  Every business that observed Shabbat hung up a sign to that effect.  Rabbis and public opinion leaders called on religious and observant Jews to buy only from Shabbat-observant businesses.  Thus Orthodox Judaism protected Shabbat observers and prevented their businesses from going under, and a relatively closed economic system came into bring: prefer to buy from Shabbat observers whenever possible.

Those were not easy days.  In many Orthodox homes there were people who did not comply.  Yet the move, whose effects are felt to this day, is a good example for effective communal organization in Israel.

So let’s act accordingly: don’t enter the old train station area on any day of the week.  For extra credit, don’t even go near M.’s properties at the Tel Aviv port (albeit most of his restaurants there aren’t even kosher).  Go to malls that are Shabbat-observant and kosher.  Period.  Call Minister of Economy Naftali Bennett, the head of the Jewish Home, and tell him to enforce the law and have his inspectors shut down the train station area on Shabbat.

Let’s bring back the country’s Jewish soul and return the sanctity of Shabbat to the public sphere.

Originally published in Mekor Rishon, May 24th, 2013. Translated from Hebrew by David B. Greenberg.

About the Author: Lt.-Col. (ret.) Meir Indor is CEO of Almagor Terror Victims Association. In his extended career of public service, he has worked as a journalist, founded the Libi Fund, Sar-El, Habaita, among many other initiatives, and continues to lend his support to other pressing causes of the day.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

6 Responses to “Shabbat Shalom, Jerusalem”

  1. Hannah Maltha says:

    It's not good to do this on Shabbat. We want Mashiach, but Ha Shem want we are lissening to His Torah before and try to do this.

  2. Eva Feld says:

    This is not only good for Jerusalem, it would be good for the US as well. A full day of rest for all. It used to be that way, and it was good.

  3. All the Time Shabbat Shalom in Yerushalayim!

  4. We want shalom on Shabbat, in Jerusalem and every where. Period!

  5. Dan Silagi says:

    I don't tell Haredim what to do on Shabbat. I don't go to their synagogues and start reciting Hail Marys, although sometimes I admit I'm tempted to do so just to tick these intolerant SOBs off. But it would be wrong, and if I did that, I'd be engaging in similar intolerant behavior to what they do.

    But if I want to drive to the movies on Friday night in Jerusalem, who the hell are the ultra-orthodox to tell me I can't? It makes no difference if I'm the only secular Jew in Jerusalem; democracy is not tyranny of the majority. I'm sure some Christians are "offended" because I don't believe Jesus Christ is the Savior. Too bad. Hopefully, the new government in Israel will return the country to its secular roots, and get the hell out of religion entirely.

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
The Jerusalem light rail train, crossing the Chords Bridge near the Central Bus Station.
Jerusalem Light Rail’s New ‘Zero Tolerance’ for Arab Violence
Latest Indepth Stories
Map of Syria-Turkish border area, pinpointing Kurdish border town of Kobani, just taken by ISIS terror forces Oct 7, 2014.

Turkey and Iran the 2 regional powers surrounding the ISIS conflict gain from a partial ISIS victory

The Rosenstrasse area of Berlin, where Jewish husbands of non-Jewish German wives were held.

Emigration from Israel is at an all-time low, far lower than immigration to Israel from Europe.

NY rally against Met Opera's 'Death of Klinghoffer' opera. Sept. 22, 2014.

Leon Klinghoffer’s daughters: “‘Klinghoffer’ is justified as ‘a work of art’…This is an outrage.”

Guess who's behind the door?

Do you seriously think that as you kidnap our children we should medically treat and help yours?

Sometimes collective action against the heinous acts of the majority is not enough. The world should not only support the blockade of Gaza; it must enforce the dismantling of Hamas.

The Arab Spring has challenged Jordan with the task of gradual reform with regard to its monarchy.

Israel offered Syria the entire Golan Heights, only to find that the Syrians were demanding MORE!

Israeli hasbara too can be described at best as pathetic, at worst non existent.

A ‘good news’ story from the Nepal avalanche disaster to warm your heart. Take out your Kleenex.

Journalists see the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as morality play: Israel=evil; Palestine=innocent

Warsaw Ghetto: At its height, the Nazis walled in some 500,000 Jews within the1.3 square mile area.

While police officers face dangers every day on the job, Jews also face danger in their daily lives.

Carter developed a fondness for Arafat believing “they were both ordained to be peacemakers by God”

If Hamas is ISIS, the world asks, why didn’t Israel destroy it given justification and opportunity?

That key is the disarming of Hamas and the demilitarization of Gaza – as the U.S., EU, and others agreed to in principle at the end of Operation Protective Edge.

We have no doubt there are those who deeply desire to present themselves as being of a gender that is not consistent with their anatomy, and we take no joy in the pain and embarrassment they suffer.

More Articles from Meir Indor
Omar Barghouti BDS

By warning of a boycott, “Israel’s captains of industry” are actually encouraging one.

Zeev (Zambish) Chever, a friend of late former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, eulogizing him.

Sometimes one must love with one’s eyes closed.

The message from the recent episode near Eish Kodesh is clear: violence pays.

“Arise, Reb Yechiel—honored with the firing of one bomb!”

Instead of being treated as common criminals, Palestinian terrorists receive an exceptional degree of autonomy within the prison walls.

Instead of giving new young couples some time in public housing until they’re ready to move forward, they want to give away the apartments to people who have been reaping the benefits for years.

Terrorism has become a military tool of states, not just sub-national organizations.

The top Israeli advocate for letting the terrorists out of jail is none other than Shimon Peres.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/shabbat-shalom-jerusalem/2013/05/27/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: