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Dr. Isaac Lewin, late professor at Yeshiva University, fought hard in 1956, in his capacity as Agudath Israel representative to the United Nations, against a UN resolution to insert a “blank” day (known as “World’s Day”) into the calendar as a means of calendar reform – thus essentially creating an eight-day week every year.

With his keen knowledge, Dr. Lewin persuaded and enlisted leaders of the major religions and a majority of the member states to defeat this terrible threat to our observance of the Sabbath. Dr. Lewin understood that the inclusion of a “blank” day even once in a century would wreak havoc with Shabbat, as it would no longer fall on Saturday. In fact, now that we are in the 21st century, we would be observing Shabbat on Fridays.

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If no action had been taken, we would have “kicked the can down the road” for our children and children’s children to deal with, creating a situation whereby Shabbat would eventually traverse all the days of the week. Just imagine a Jew in modern society trying to find employment in a work force – that does not comprehend the sanctity of Shabbat to begin with – operating under a calendar where Shabbat would come out on a Wednesday, smack in the middle of the work week, for example.

It was his perseverance and zeal, documented in his book In the Struggle Against Discrimination (Bloch Publication, 1957), which benefits us today as we experience the joy of Shabbat every week.

(To be continued)

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Rabbi Yaakov Klass, rav of Congregation K’hal Bnei Matisyahu in Flatbush, Brooklyn, is Torah Editor of The Jewish Press. He can be contacted at yklass@jewishpress.com.
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