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January 30, 2015 / 10 Shevat, 5775
 
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Sabbath’

The Shabbos Project: Jews Worldwide Keeping This Shabbos Together

Thursday, October 23rd, 2014

In 340 cities around the world Jews from all walks of life, stars and simple folks, academics and others across the spectrum this week are all going to be ‘Keeping it Together.’

Shabbat. Shabbos. The Sabbath.

However you refer to it, even vocalist Paula Abdul is joining in with Nobel Prize laureates for 25 hours this weekend to keep the seventh day holy, as God commanded His Chosen People.

“The Shabbat Project is an opportunity for the entire Jewish world to keep one complete Shabbat together – from Friday evening just before sunset on October 24, until Saturday night after the stars have come out on October 25,” says South African Chief Rabbi Dr. Warren Goldstein.

It was Goldstein who originated the Shabbat Project last year in South Africa. His drive and enthusiasm sent the project around the world in 2014.

“The beauty of this is that it is so practical and manageable. It’s only one Shabbat. It’s something everyone can do…This approach is predicated on the idea that the real energy of Shabbat – its transformative power – is wholly dependent on immersing oneself in the full Shabbat experience.”

In Israel, the Rami Levy supermarket is, as usual, leading the retailers’ part in the initiative. The chain is offering a “challah for a shekel, wine for five shekels” special this week to encourage Jews to participate in the project.

Poster ads are running on Egged buses across the country and along its highways and byways. A local team in the “Startup Nation” has also launched the #Keeping It Together app .  It has everything anyone needs to know about keeping the Sabbath holy, and it’s programmed to put your phone to sleep over Shabbat. (After all, it is the ‘day of rest.’)

A number of special events for the project are being held around the country, starting tonight (Thursday, Oct. 23.)

In the Jerusalem neighborhood of French Hill tonight, participants can learn to bake Challah (braided Sabbath bread) for Shabbat. On Friday afternoon, organizers are holding a concert of Shabbat songs. Later the same day, an Oneg Shabbat meal will be held as well.

In Tel Aviv on Friday night, attendees will find a champagne kiddush reception, followed by Shabbat dinner at the Beit El Synagogue. On Saturday, the Sabbath Day, a potluck picnic is planned at Independence Park.

Similar events are planned in Rehovot and Ra’anana.

An enormous neon billboard has gone up in New York City’s Times Square, announcing the initiative.

A special “revolutionary” recipe developed by a crack team in Miami for a Challah Bake tonight (Thursday, Oct. 23) is expected to draw thousands.

A Miami Beach Chabad-Lubavitch rabbi is setting up a big tent at his synagogue to offer super Shabbos meals for anyone in the zip code pledging to keep this Shabbos.

In Canada, Prime Minister Stephen Harper himself has endorsed the project. Posters appear in subway stations in Toronto. Jews are signing up on the project’s special website.

Every single Jewish community organization, school and synagogue in Buenos Aires has pledged to keep Shabbat this coming weekend. More than 10,000 are expected at a planned Havdalah Unity Concert – produced with the assistance of the government of Argentina, no less and set for broadcast on national TV.

The tagline of the project, “Keeping It Together,” speaks to the unity and well being of the Jewish People as a whole entity, as well as to Jewish individuality. That’s what Shabbat is all about, Goldstein says.

“Keeping it together means keeping our lives together,” Goldstein explains. “Of course, there is the good food, sound sleep and deep relaxation to look forward to on Shabbat, but there’s more.

“Shabbat restores us, not just in a physical sense, but emotionally and spiritually as well, so that we emerge on Saturday night as new human beings ready to face the week with all of its challenges and opportunities.”

Whatever your time zone, if you are Jewish, join with other Members of the Tribe to bring in the Sabbath and help Keep It Together planetwide.

Chabad of Tel Aviv Resumes Shabbat Para Glider Campaign

Monday, September 8th, 2014

If you’re on the beach this coming Friday in Tel Aviv, you may be able to spot a para glider, reminding you when to light your Sabbath candles.

In recent years, beach goers in Tel Aviv had been accustomed to an aerial campaign promoting the Sabbath. A para glider would soar up and down the Mediterranean coast on Friday afternoons announcing candle lighting time.

For a while this year, due to the recent war in Gaza, the IDF grounded the para glider temporarily — but last week Chabad of Tel Aviv was given permission to resume its campaign.

The campaign, coordinated by Rabbi Yechezkel Gvirtz and Chabad-Lubavitch of Tel Aviv director Rabbi Yosef Gerlitzky, began with a flyer distribution and parade.

Gvirtz acknowledges that for most people, Sabbath observance can be a long process, but he notes that he’s been seeing more and more tourists showing up for Friday night and Saturday morning services.

“All they have to do is look up and they will see that the Sabbath is coming,” he says. “It speaks directly to them.”

Tel Aviv Mayor: Opening Shops on Shabbat ‘Won’t Disturb Anyone’

Wednesday, March 19th, 2014

A change in the Tel Aviv law that would allow stores to open on the Sabbath “will not disturb anyone,” Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai stated in an open and written reply to Tel Aviv Chief Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau, former Chief Rabbi of Israel.

The rabbi said that the proposed permission for stores to open on the day of rest would desecrate the sanctity of the Sabbath.

Mayor Huldai claimed that only one percent of businesses in the city will be able to open on Sabbath and will be in areas where operation won’t bother anyone.

There are flaws in Mayor Huldai’s reasoning. He assumes that Jews in secular neighborhoods will not be disturbed by stores opening on the Sabbath.

He is dead wrong. There are no statistics, but it is safe to say that a sizeable number of “secular” Jews respect and love the sanctity of the Sabbath, even if they don’t observe it.

Moreover, the “one percent” of stores that he says would open on Shabbat, if allowed, is only the beginning. Competitors will be forced to follow suit.

Pro-secular activists always argue that preventing stores from opening on the Sabbath is “religious coercion,” a phrase that always brings out the catcalls for “freedom” from religious influence on the law.

There are laws that prevent business in certain neighborhoods form operating in the middle of the night, but “social coercion” is legitimate.

There are laws that prevent businesses, and residents, from making too much noise, but “environmental coercion” is permissible.

Any law restricts the freedom of some people, and that is allowed, but the secular fundamentalists cannot tolerate the thought of Judaism being an influence on laws in a Jewish state, for the simple reason they do not wan’t a Jewish state.

Hay want a state where Jews can live and practice their religion as they wish, son ,long as the their prayers in synagogues do not disturb the neighbors and so long as not too many people clog the sidewalk when walking back and forth to synagogue on the Sabbath, and so long as the Orthodox Jews don’t dare take affront at parades of homosexuals.

The anti-Orthodox activists don’t admit that they are practicing secular coercion.

Shabbat Saved a Jew from the Malaysia Airlines Death Flight

Tuesday, March 11th, 2014

(JTA) The popular travel discount blog Dan’s Deals is circulating a story that a Jewish passenger who was supposed to be on the missing Malaysia Airlines plane was switched to an alternative flight because his Orthodox Jewish travel agent in Israel refused to book him on an itinerary that would have him traveling on Shabbat.

Under Orthodox Jewish law, facilitating someone else’s Sabbath desecration — boarding an airplane — is as forbidden as desecrating the Sabbath oneself.

Here’s the email exchange on January 13 and 14 between the passenger, identified as Andy, and the travel agent. The emails were posted online by Dan’s Deals with the identifying details removed.

Andy: One amendment, I need the KUL-PEK flight a day later. I need the extra day in Kuala. once that is set you can lock in.
Travel Agent: I wish I can give you a day later, but you know I just don’t like flying Jews on Shabbat. I can take that leg out if you want and you book yourself.

Andy decides to book the flight himself but later changes his mind:

Andy: I reconsidered, you are right I should be more observant, I’ll manage without that day in Kuala. Since I’ll have an extra night in PEK Any recommendations for a good Friday night dinner in Beijing?
Agent: Ok, glad to hear. Try this: http://www.chabadbeijing.com/

Then, on March 8, Andy writes:

Holy God,
You sure heard what happened to MH370
I cannot stop thinking about this.
This is a true miracle for the books. You are a true life saver…
I cannot think anymore! We’ll talk later this week. Don’t know how to thank you enough
(See the full email exchange here.)

When I tried to verify the authenticity of the story with Daniel Eleff of Dan’s Deals, he sent me this message:

At this time the travel agent and the passenger are opting to remain anonymous. There has been a fair amount of negative feedback and they are choosing to wait until the fate of the flight in known to determine if they’ll go public.
I have personally verified the story and can vouch for its authenticity. The emails I posted with time stamps are unaltered except to remove identifiable information.

Court to Rule If Jerusalem’s ’Cinema City’ Can Violate the Sabbath

Tuesday, February 25th, 2014

Jerusalem’s $75 million, 19-theatre Cinema City opened on Tuesday, but the Supreme Court will decide next month if it can operate on the Sabbath, in violation of both Jewish law and the “status quo” that maintains an equilibrium and unstable peace between observant and non-observant Jews in the capital.

Multi-screen theatres are common in Israel, but not in Jerusalem. The new eight-floor complex, located across the street from the same court building that will decide its fate on the Sabbath, includes 50 cafes and shops and is expected to see up to 15 million visitors in its first year of operation.

The last thing Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat needs is another reason for riots from the Haredi community, which already has enough fuel for a city-wide blaze of anger over the idea of a military draft for all Jews, including yeshiva students. The argument over the compulsory draft for all conveniently does not focus on Arabs. That is another story by itself but illustrates how Israeli politicians manage to ride the rails of populism.

Mayor Barkat has taken the safe road on the issue of Shabbat. During last year’s mayoral election race, he said the complex should remain closed on the Day of Rest. He now emphasizes that the decision is up to the court. Given the financial income to the city by thousands of tourists spending money on movies and restaurants on the Sabbath, Barkat’s heart might be in the wallet and not in the Torah.

The municipality has stated that the agreement between Cinema City’s developers and the Finance Ministry stipulated that the movie complex will not operate on the Sabbath since it is located on government property.

City Council member Merav Cohen insists that Barkat can change the terms of the agreement if he wants to and that it is not dependent on the Finance Ministry.

Deputy Mayor Yossi Deutsch claims that most of the city council opposes a Shabbat opening for the theatre complex. Whether or not a majority really wants it closed because of religious reasons or out of respect for the Orthodox community, they certainly would prefer Jerusalem get attention from other areas instead of Haredi riots.

The fact is that when the Jerusalem City Council decided four years ago that Cinema City would be closed on the Sabbath, only three members at the meeting objected.

National religious Rabbi Yaakov Medan of Gush Etzion has written that the cinema complex should be open for secular Israelis, with restrictions against restaurants and other commercial establishments being open. He said that Jerusalem needs secular residents, who should not feel they have to live elsewhere to avoid restrictions due to the Sabbath.

The argument is an old one. Is it religious coercion to close down movie theatres on Shabbat? Is it secular coercion to allow them to open? Does it ruin the religious character of the city, if not Israel, by allowing them to operate?

Those are interesting social, theological and philosophical questions, but the more immediate question might be if the court will take into consideration the physical safety of citizens if it allows Cinema City to open its doors and if riots follow.

Everything in Israel comes down to politics. The Haredim correctly feel they are being marginalized, although the change is long overdue. The government has cut funds for yeshivas, it wants Haredi youth to serve in the army just like everyone else – except secular draft dodgers about whom no one seems to write.

The Haredi establishment has managed to hold on to the Chief Rabbinate, but its powers are being undermined with a belated reform of kosher supervision that is aimed at  eliminating corruption and making sure that “kosher” really is ”kosher” and not just a stamp on a certificate in return for money in the pocket.

Haredim Allegedly Hurled Rocks at Arabs Violating the Sabbath

Sunday, January 26th, 2014

Dozens of Jerusalem Haredim allegedly hurled rocks on Friday night, after the Sabbath began, at Arab vehicles on Route 1 that bypasses Mea Shearim, according to the Bethlehem-based Ma’an News Agency.

The news agency claimed that the attacks “were racially-motivated assaults targeting Palestinians,” while police spokesman Mickey Rosenfeld said there had been no reports of complaints.

It could very well be that Haredim targeted the cars, and the drivers did not complain to the police.

In any case, it is doubtful the stacks were “racially” motivated. First of all, the all of the vehicles bore Israeli license plates, and there was no way to distinguish, especially from a distance at night, if the drivers were Jewish or Arab

Secondly, Haredim don’t care about the religion of a motorist driving by their area on the Sabbath.

One Arab told Ma’an that police arrived but did not interfere, which is also likely since some of the more violent Haredim like throwing rocks at them also, regardless of their religion and even if it is not the Sabbath.

Bills in the Works for Homosexual Marriages and Buses on Shabbat

Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013

Yesh Atid Knesset Members are drafting bills that would carry out the party platform’s election promises to give legal blessings to homosexual marriages and public bus transportation on the Sabbath, both actions forbidden under Jewish law but with two important differences.

Homosexuality is explicitly prohibited by the Torah, no matter how one does somersaults to conclude otherwise.

“Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind; it is abomination’ (Lev. 18:22) is open to interpretation only to the point of defining the word “lie.”

Riding on a public bus on the Sabbath, if the driver is not Jewish, is a prohibition based on Torah law but not explicitly forbidden by the Torah.

The second difference is that homosexuality, unlike riding on the Sabbath, is more of an emotional issue because of its contradiction of the family unit, a foundation of a long-lasting democratic state that does not dissolve into social anarchy, and of the Torah commandment to be “fruitful and multiply.”

However, a law providing public transportation on the Sabbath would dramatically affect a change that would make Israel more secular with less recognition of Shabbat as a holy day.

This is of no interest to those in Israel, such as Yesh Atid and a large number of other political parties, who take the liberty to define a “Jewish” state based on their own views. After all, that is the modern Western thing to do these days. Everyone can be a rabbi.

Anyone who disagrees with them is not “liberal,” “progressive” or “democratic” and therefore not fit for this world.

Yesh Atid, headed by Yair Lapid, has begun discussions on the bills with the initiative of MKs Aliza Lavie and Ruth Calderon. They reportedly are trying to soften the language to gain support of the entire party.

Four unnamed Yesh Atid MKs reportedly have said they will object.

American-born Rabbi/MK Dov Lipman, told The Jewish Press Tuesday, “We are currently working on the precise details of these laws but I can say that they are being crafted with the utmost respect to the religious population and to Halacha,” he said.

Asked if he will support or oppose the bills, MK Lipman replied by e-mail, “We are formulating laws that we all agree to.  That is the beauty of working together instead of fighting against one another.”

He also stated in response to other questions, “Yesh Atid is a party which was founded with the guiding principle that the time has come for religious and Jews to respect one another and work together instead of continuing to combat each other.

“Israel is both a Jewish and democratic country and we are working as a team to navigate through challenging issues. There is no desire for anyone religious to be less religious and we actually believe that removing some of the religious coercion will actually attract people to re-engage with their Judaism.”

The probable language of homosexual “unions” and not “marriages” is semantic trickery. The difference between the two is mainly in the field of rights, but the Supreme Court in Israel already has ruled must be granted to same-sex couples.

If public opinion were to decide the issues, homosexual marriages and bus transportation on the Sabbath probably would pass, according to most opinion polls.

Lapid, whose popularity has been sinking, enthusiastically backed both upcoming bills last week, saying, “A law in favor of homosexual unions will allow every couple in the country to declare the love for each other and be recognized.”

As for public transportation on the Day of Rest, he said he is not trying to irritate the religious community. He said the bill would provide that buses not travel through religious neighborhoods but will allow “poor grandfathers to visit their grandchildren in the hospital on Shabbat” instead of having to take an expensive taxi.”

The fallacy in his thinking is that it presumes Israel is divided into “religious” and “secular” camps. That is not true. There is a large, perhaps plurality, which is “traditional” and would prefer the Sabbath to remain a public Day of rest to remain as such, even if they personally violate it.

Once the Knesset puts its official stamp to recognize homosexuality marriages – excuse me, unions – and transportation on the Sabbath, it is encouraging the practice. It would not be “coercion” because no one would be required to ride on the Sabbath, but it would increase social pressure on those who might violate it at home but not in public as a matter of respect.

Lapid is crouching to pounce on his secular prey and boost his sinking popularity, and the slogans of “a Jewish democratic state” are about to be heard ad nauseum.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/bills-in-the-works-for-homosexual-unions-and-buses-on-shabbat/2013/10/22/

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