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Israeli Celebs and the Shabbat

NRG has an article (Heb) about Israeli celebrities who observe and sanctify Shabbat in different ways. I think that there are two important take aways from the article. The first is that religious observance and identity in Israel is much richer and complex than is understood by most Diaspora Jews. The second is that the rabbi who is interviewed in the article is Rabbi Galia Sadan, the rabbi of the Beit Daniel Center for Progressive Judaism. A Reform rabbi being interviewed about celebs observing Shabbat…some good news about religion in Israel is always welcome.

Here are some quotes from the article.

Ninet Tayeb:

I think that if I wasn’t observing (שומרת) Shabbat and she wasn’t protecting (שומרת) me, for a long time I would have already been in a different place…Simply one day [at age 14] I decided that I want to give God something in return…I began with it, and I didn’t find any reason to stop. I don’t define myself in any way as religious, but I observe Shabbat with all of its laws. I don’t travel and I don’t perform, I make Shabbat as it should be.

Rotem Zisman:

 I come from a totally secular family, but there was something inside of me, just like if two parents who don’t know how to play an instrument have a piano prodigy. Six years ago I lived on Shenkin Street and I have a Ger Hasidic neighbor who never spoke with me. One day I asked her if she knows if Selichot are recited in the neighborhood synagogue, because at the time everybody was going to Selichot, this was very in and trendy. After a few hours she got back to me and said that the Gerlitzky family, the neighbors, are inviting me for Shabbat. I said, ‘Let’s do it.’ (Ya’alah).

I was hosted by them and I loved all of the togetherness, the preparations for Shabbat, that they sit and laugh all of the Shabbat. This was a different atmosphere that separates the thoughts from the weekday. Afterwards I understood that every Shabbat they host many people, and many have on account of them become religious, including Gili Sasson and also the second one from ‘Hafuch.’ Also Rama Borstein, who just received an Ofir award, does the same thing.

Riff Cohen:

Shabbat is the day of the week on which I do my maximum. Let’s say that I bought a new shirt, when am I going to where it? To some bar on a weekday? No, I am going to wear it on Shabbat, because for Shabbat I am going to set aside the pretty things. I have a lipstick that I just use on Shabbat, and Shabbat plates, and glasses, on Shabbat I am at the top of my game.

A hat tip for the article goes to Avi Mayer on Twitter. If you are interesting in keeping up on what’s happening in Israel, Avi’s twitter account is a must.

One Response to “Israeli Celebs and the Shabbat”

  1. 1

    “I think that there are two important take aways from the article.”

    Hmmmm. You have here a female writer, interviewing four celebrities, all female, and then interviewing a Reform Rabbi, yet again female. Six individuals, every one female. Definitely a take away somewhere . . . .




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