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Posts Tagged ‘shabbat’

Rabbi Who Compiled Laws of the Sabbath Dies at 85

Tuesday, June 11th, 2013

Rabbi Yehoshua Neuwirth, who compiled the widely used “Shmirat Shabbat K’Hilkhatah,” died Monday night in Jerusalem  at the age of 85.

Tens of thousands of Jews rely on his two-volume book on the laws of Shabbat. He upgraded the first version more than 20 years ago to change several leniencies that he later prohibited.

He is being buried late Tuesday morning at Har HaZeitim.

‘Danger of Fire’ from Shabbat Candles Shuts Out Jewish Tourists

Thursday, May 30th, 2013

Orthodox Jews from Manchester and London have decided to end their annual summer visit to a campus on the Welsh coast after the host University of  decided that lighting candles on Shabbat is a fire hazard.

Jews have not always been welcome guests at the University of Aberystwyth, which is empty of students during the summer vacation. In 2009, the Jews were welcomed with swastikas on the grass and on piece of paper found in residence halls.

University authorities insisted there was nothing anti-Semitic in their new condition for the Jewish tourists to visit, according to the London Independent.

It quoted a university spokesman as saying, “The university… would be delighted to welcome this group back, as long as they are able to sign our terms and conditions.”

However, one of the annual visitors, identified by the Independent as ”Mrs. Brander,” said, “We have found a holder to make each candle safer. We offered to  discuss it with the fire brigade, but  the university was not interested.”

Jewish families rent the university’s facilities on the coast for a vacation away from the Britain’s urban centers. In the past years, they have lit candles on Friday nights at the University of Aberystwyth without any question, until last year, when they were told of the new condition. During the same summer, a visiting rabbi drowned.

The tourists ignored the request until recently, when they decided they could not give up the lighting of candles.

“Ultimately, there was no real decision for us – our religion requires the lighting of candles,” Brander told the British newspaper.

The University of Aberystwyth five years ago defended itself against charges of anti-Semitism by London Spectator columnist Melanie Phillips, who published charges by a student that he had to write anti-Israeli and anti-American opinions or face receiving lower marks.

The student complained that in one course, a comparison was made between the treatment of Jews in Germany before the Second World War and the treatment of Muslims today. The lecturer reportedly told the student, “My assertion that Israel has been engaged in state terrorism lies first in a clear understanding of what the aims and consequences of terrorism are.”

The university replied that the course was given with the aim of being “objective, with no bias and no prejudice against any race or country.”

Shabbat Shalom, Jerusalem

Monday, May 27th, 2013

“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.

Jerusalem Residents Protest Plan to Close Cineplex on Shabbat

Sunday, May 5th, 2013

Approximately Jerusalem residents, including Meretz party supporters, protested on front of City Hall Saturday night against a plan to close a new movie theater complex on Shabbat and Jewish holidays.

The complex, which includes restaurants and a 15-screen movie theater, is set to open this summer. It will close on weekends in keeping with an agreement between the Finance Ministry, the property developer and the Jerusalem municipality.

Among the groups protesting were Awakening, the Meretz political party and Be Free Israel.

 

 

Stars of ‘Scandal’ and ‘Once Upon A Time’ at Kotel on Shabbat

Sunday, May 5th, 2013

Stars from the hit American TV shows “Scandal” and “Once Upon a Time” visited the Western Wall Friday night during and found themselves immediately recognized by religious Jewish prayer-goers.

”People approached us at the Western Wall, saying they watch our shows,” said Katie Lowes, who stars in the new American political thriller television series “Scandal,” created by Grey’s Anatomy’s Shonda Rhimes.

”It has been an amazing experience, visiting across Israel. But the visit to the Western Wall and the Shabbat dinner that followed, was truly a highlight,” she added. ”It was beautiful to hear the people singing and praying and to be part of a Shabbat dinner with a family in Jerusalem.”

The Hollywood celebrities spent a week touring Israel in a trip which was led by America’s Voices in Israel (AVI) director Irwin Katsof and sponsored by El Al Israel Airlines and the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The group spent time in the Golan Heights, Haifa, Tel Aviv, Masada, Dead Sea and Jerusalem from April 29-May 5.

Woman Sues after ’24-Hour Makeup’ Didn’t Make it Through Shabbat

Thursday, May 2nd, 2013

An Orthodox Jewish woman from Monsey, N.Y. is suing the Lancome cosmetics firm, claiming that its 24-hour makeup does not last as long as advertised and thus prevents her from looking good all Shabbat.

Rorie Weisberg of Monsey, N.Y. said in her lawsuit that Lancome’s Teint Idole Ultra 24H foundation does not last 24 hours and that the company is practicing false advertising, a violation of New YorkState business law, the New York Post reported Wednesday.

Weisberg’s lawsuit says her son is having a bar mitzvah next month and that she tried the Lancome foundation in advance to see if she could look good in her makeup for the entire 25-hour celebration. Jewish law prohibits removing and replacing makeup during the Sabbath.

“The 24-hour claim was central to plaintiff’s purchase decision, as a long-lasting makeup assists with her dual objectives of compliance with religious law and enhancement to her natural appearance,” according to the lawsuit.

The suit seeks unspecified damages from Lancome and its parent firm, L’Oreal, for Weisberg and other makeup purchasers, as well as a “corrective advertising campaign.”

A spokeswoman for L’Oreal said in a statement that the lawsuit has no merit and Lancome stands behinds its products.

“We will strenuously contest these allegations in court,” the spokeswoman said. “Consistent with our practice and policy, however, as this matter is currently in litigation, we cannot comment further.”

Tshuva: No Shabbat Desecration Occurred

Friday, April 5th, 2013

Yitzchak Tshuva, one of the investors in the Tamar gas field said that no desecration of the Shabbat or Pesach holiday happened with the gas flow, according to a report in Kikar Shabbat.

“Shabbat is the source of our blessing,” Tshuva said. He emphasized that no ceremony was held on Shabbat or the Holiday.

Tshuva said that all the work was being done by Noble Energy, the operating partner in the gas field, and they began the process weeks ago. The gas arrived into Israel on the eve of the last day of Pesach, and that the flow of the gas is an ongoing process which took time until it reached Ashdod.

Yitzchak Tshuva expressed regret that the gas flow’s arrival physically into Israel was being presented as having desecrated the Shabbat or the Pesach Holiday.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/tshuva-no-shabbat-desecration-occurred/2013/04/05/

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