Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Working on Shabbat in Israel

There used to be very strict laws here in Israel forbidding and limiting working on Shabbat, but in recent years the Israeli Supreme Court has made decisions contrary to Jewish Law and tradition.

In the medical field, many hospitals have state of the art equipment specially designed for Shabbat use.  Rabbis also permit the transporting of medical staff to and from hospitals on Shabbat according to specific halachic (Jewish Law) guidelines.

But commerce and hi-tech are much more difficult for those who live Torah lives or want Shabbat with family.  In most parts of Israel there are stores and malls open on Shabbat, so the workers are expected to take Shabbat shifts.  Also, many international hi-tech firms demand Shabbat shifts.

I think it's important to boycott the malls and chains which open on Shabbat.  If anyone has a list, please send it to me.  Thanks


Bryan said...

Aren't there non-Jews in Israel who may want to shop (or work) on Shabbat? I mean, maybe stores should be closed in your yishuv out of respect for the general religiosity of that community, but it seems silly to force chilonim in Tel Aviv and Arabs in Arad to keep Shabbat.

I really would like to know whether there's a halakha on whether non-Jews in a Jewish environment must adhere to Shabbat rules. Moreover, since Israel is not a theocracy run on halakha (and the majority of Israelis don't want it to be), does it matter?

Anonymous said...

Bryan, imagine that in the land of the Jews, those Jews who actually behave Jewish are denied job opportunities because they cannot work on Shabbat in all of the places of employment that don't give a damn that you're a Jew in the land of the Jews.

It's been happening for decades here. It's about time it was stopped.

Gentiles can do what they want but then Israel will need to be consistent when they pass a new law defining who is a goy. :)

Lou said...

A better idea would be to keep a list of shops that don't open on Shabbat. Instead of giving publicity to those who do.

Batya said...

Bryan, None of those other religions are forbidden by their religion to shop or work on their Sabbath. And nobody stops a cristian from closing on Sunday and opening on Saturday.

Everyone needs a day off. And Jewish families, parents should have the same day off for family time as their kids. Store and factory workers deserve their day off with family.

Batya said...

shy, thanks, good points
lou, good idea, can you help?

Unknown said...

I find it difficult to understand that it would be more difficult to avoid working on Shabbat in ארץ ישראל than in the United States. In the past 40 years I have only been turned down for a job once because of Shabbat, and I agreed that it was a legitimate situation. It was a job that would have required that I be available to come in on Shabbat if needed. It was not even a matter of finding an alternate person to cover for me.

I was naive enough not to consider that there might be a "problem" with wearing a kipah at work and I have not had that problem at all.

Of course ignorance is much more rampant here, but ignorance can be cured, prejudice often cannot.

My father was once informed that the supervisor had checked with a "rabbi" and that the second day of Rosh Hashana did not exist. Rabbi Berel Wein, when he was a practicing attorney, was once confronted by a (Jewish) judge who had never heard of Shavuos.

Thank G0d that things have changed to such an extent here that I have not had to struggle. I do know that there are those who are faced with difficulties in trying to keep Shabbat, but it is not like it was 70 years ago.

Batya said...

Some things are better and some worse. You can find obviously religious people in all sorts of jobs. Kippot on men and hair covering for married women are very acceptable. I know of a few married female judges and army officers who work with their hair covered.

1-Just the other day I spoke to someone who left hi-tech, because all of the jobs he interviewed for required Shabbat work. It may be his specific field.
2-Stores and malls. When we made aliyah 40 years ago, most stores still took a siesta midday, and of course they were closed on Shabbat. Now many are open longer days and seven days a week.

josh said...

There are so many countries that have laws forbidding stores from opening on Sunday. Why does Israel have to be more goyish than the goyim?!

Try going shopping in Paris on a Sunday and you will only find a few major stores open who are willing to pay the mega fines for breaking the law.

Batya said...

When I was a kid in NY, most stores weren't open on Sundays, certainly not supermarkets and department stores. Kosher stores were allowed to close Saturdays and open Sundays. They also closed dinnertime. There was no late shopping.