Shabbat in Tel Aviv:
Israel on the Seventh Day
Israel is at peace. That is the thing a traveler feels most keenly in this year-old war-scarred state. And you feel it best on Shabbat.
On Shabbat a million tired people forget their urgency and purposefulness, and greet each other with the warm slow ancient greeting, “Shabbat shalom”—“Peace to you on the Sabbath.” The hustling city of Tel Aviv becomes a village again, and the 42nd Street tempo changes to the tempo of the Catskill Mountains on Sunday morning.
All week Tel Aviv shrieks, honks its horns, grinds its brakes dried out by the hot sun, beats its Persian carpets like the rat-tat-tat of a machine gun, blares its radios, backfires its automobiles. Despite the campaign for silence and politeness, called “Operation Quiet” with big signs all over the city saying “Sheket Bavakasha!” (Silence Please!), with special civic guards hauling people into court for turning their radios on too loud before seven-thirty in the morning or after eleven at night, Tel Aviv is a noisy, rambunctious city. But it suddenly tones down on Shabbat.
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