Monday, August 1, 2011

Chodesh Tov, Sunday is The Xtian Day of Rest

There is a campaign going on in Israel to copy Sunday, the goyish day of rest and adopt it to Israeli work life.  Of course, it won't be a day of rest, vacation day, for those of us in service jobs, stores etc.  It won't be a day of rest for the bus and train drivers or those who work in swimming pools and amusement parks.

Since the Jewish concept of rest, doesn't mean, shop, drive, swim, cook etc, many Israelis want an American "Sunday" to shop, drive, swim, cook etc...  Those who aren't Shabbat observant according to Torah Laws are actually doing many of these things on Shabbat.  They want a longer weekend to do more of it.

When I was growing up in the 1950's New York, there were very strict "Blue Laws" which restricted what businesses could be open on Sundays.  It wasn't a shopping day, because the department stores and supermarkets had to be closed.  Bakeries and restaurants were open.  So were candy stores where I'd buy the giant inky New York Times.  Stores owned by Orthodox Jews and closed on Saturday were allowed to be opened on Sunday, but otherwise Sunday was a quiet family day for many.

Today New York, as is most or all of the United States, is a seven day a week place.  So many of the laws meant to protect workers and family life have been cancelled by those to promote commerce and all sorts of activities.

Not that long ago in Israel, you could feel Shabbat even in the most secular of neighborhoods.  All stores and restaurants were closed; there was no public transportation and almost nobody had cars.  Now there are shopping centers davka open on Shabbat, and many people have cars.  They certainly won't rest more if Sunday is added to the weekend.

I can't see Israelis working a half-day on Friday and adding hours to the weekday workday to have Sunday off.  For the poor, there will be more poverty, because enjoying Sunday the way the legislators and Pro-Sunday Off people envision it will be expensive.  Many of the working poor will be working, and their children won't have quality family time. They will find themselves alone, or the parents will spend huge sums of money keeping them cared for and entertained.

This is not my original solution:  There is a Jewish way of adding a day off, a "holiday" of sorts to the Israeli Calendar.  Rosh Chodesh, the first day of the Jewish Month.  Eleven or twelve (not 12 or 13 because Rosh HaShannah is a Rosh Chodesh) holiday days per year would certainly add to the quality of life here.  Every month it falls out on a different day, so that it doesn't hit one day and not others.  A monthly day off is more festive than the weekly grind.

According to Jewish Tradition Rosh Chodesh is the "women's holiday."  I'm sure lots of creative ways can be found to celebrate it.

Pretty soon I'll be going to Tel Shiloh to pray, as I do every month.  May this be the last Av of mourning...

Chodesh Tov!
Have a good month!


Hadassa said...

It's a crazy idea on all counts: family life, education, industry etc., that, as you pointed out, will only hurt the poor. It's an idea promoted by lazy people and certain politicians seeking popularity jumped on the bandwagon.

Batya said...

So, Hadassa, what about celebrating Rosh Chodesh?

Leah, Maaleh Adumim said...

I think the Rosh Chodesh idea is a good one, and also will have the side-effect of non-religious people being aware of when Rosh Chodesh occurs. so it has educational value as well.

one of the claims of the anti-religious in trying to get malls and public transportation operating on Shabbat is because "people don't have another time to shop/take family trips/ etc". so this would defeat that argument, and also provide a time when religious families could go on tiyulim.

Batya said...

Leah, thanks. I also have no doubt that if we functioned as a country on that aspect of a Jewish Calendar, G-d will make sure that it will further improve our economy.

Anonymous said...

B"D I've been in Israel for twelve years and I have never gotten used to working on Sunday. Sunday's off is a fantastic idea, and it has nothing to do with other religions and everything to do with quality of life. And wanting quality of life does not mean that one is lazy. Also there are plenty of activities that families can do together that do not involve large amounts of money, chesed projects, a day out hiking with homemade picnic, family time at home, board games, baking, playing in the park, visiting family and friends that can not be done on shabbat ... etc, etc, etc. It is not true that poor people will suffer more from this. They will gain by having more time to spend with their families thus enriching their lives. True wealth is not measured by money but by quality of life.

Israelis work long hours but not necessarily productively, thus the push should be for greater productivity, less hours and more work/life balance.

And if you look at countries around the world there is no correlation between the number of hours people work and the success of the economy, but there is between productivity per hour and a successful economy.

Batya said...

Poor people will either be working or even poorer, since they won't have money needed for the fun things. Try to tell the kids that taking a walk or staying home watching tv is a quality day when their wealthy friends are in hotels or shopping.

Anonymous said...

That is such a poor argument. In any case most people tend to socialise with others in their own socio-economic group. And basically what you are saying is that if people can't keep up, not with the Joneses, but with the Rothschilds, it's better off that they are wage slaves, worked to their total exhaustion. Which is the way the current work week is set up. People in Israel age very badly, compared say to Europeans. Ok, it's partly to do with the sun, but a lot of it is the exhausting lifestyle.

Furthermore, children do not need to be constantly entertained, they need to be included in family activities, which do not have to cost an arm and a leg. I know a family that does not have a lot. Every year they choose a theme for their summer holidays (at home). They pick a country, make its food, learn some words, its culture, watch a film about it. They learn about the world and have fun, without money. We need to get out of this mindset that children need constant entertaining. They need to explore, to think and to have fun. Who says that that is found in an expensive hotel? I don't for a minute believe that most children think that. I have noticed that when you buy a child a great present, many times they take it out of the box and imaginatively play with the box.

Poor people will not be poorer for this. Their lives will be enriched, at being able to spending quality time when they are not exhausted with their families.

No one ever said on their death bed that they wished that they had spent more time at the office.

Batya said...

a, Israel doesn't need a three day weekend. You haven't related to Rosh Chodesh as a monthly day off. Try being open-minded and creative.

Hadassa said...

I think that the fact that Sunday was suggested as a day off and not Friday, which many people already have as a day off, says much about the people pushing for another official day off in additional to Shabbat.
Anyone who is concerned about wage slaves should first ensure that the employment laws concerning Shabbat, the ones on the secular book of Israeli law, are enforced. The religious simply won't work on Shabbat, but there are many seculars who want to spend Shabbat with family and friends and would risk losing their entire income if they insisted on not working on any part of Shabbat.