“Leisure Sundays” Stress Me Out

by Brian on March 15, 2011

in Only in Israel,The Old Country

"You shall have your day of rest" Silvan Shalom commands

In recent weeks, Israeli Vice Premier Silvan Shalom’s has renewed a campaign to turn Sunday into an official day off in Israel, as with other parts of the world. The Anglo community has embraced the idea. As for me, I’m dead set against it.

How could anyone be against Sundays, you might ask? Isn’t that one of the biggest complaint immigrants from Western countries have? Especially for the religious, Friday is dedicated primarily to preparing for Shabbat; it’s certainly not a day for hiking, shopping and barbecuing.

Have these same immigrants forgotten their own miserable experiences in the old country? I haven’t. Back when I was more religious, Fridays were a nightmare, mostly because you had to explain to your employer why you had to leave early in the winters and how you’d make it up on weekends (oops, there goes Sunday).

Even if your boss was flexible, your co-workers might not be so supportive. I remember one Friday when I was working towards a looming software deadline, I told my lead programmer I was leaving while he would have to toil into the wee hours. He had a few choice words for me that probably spurred my aliyah.

Then there was getting home minutes before Shabbat (if I didn’t get stuck in the inevitable Friday afternoon traffic) and having no down time before showering, changing into Shabbat clothes and rushing off to shul.

Having Fridays off in Israel is, by contrast, one of the aspects to Israeli life that I most appreciated.

Now, MK Shalom assures us that implementing “leisure Sundays” would be different in Israel. We’d only work a half-day on Fridays. And we’d add extra hours to the rest of the week.

Sure, Silvan. And have you ever worked in a hi-tech company where the hours of that so-called “rest of the week” already stretched well into the evening? The pressure to work late on Fridays could be just as forbidding as my experience back in the States.

Here’s one more downer to rain on the weekend parade. I remember years ago, when I was CEO of a startup, discussing what it took to “make it” in the Internet age. “We work 24/7,” boasted one of my colleagues. When I told him in Israel we only work 24/6, he thought I was nuts. How could we possibly compete? So now we’re going to be 24/5.5?

So, sorry guys, I’m voting against this proposal. Not that it matters. The proposal has come up several times in the past decade and never made it out of committee (if it even got that far). My beloved one-day weekend is safe for now.

This post appeared originally on Israelity.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

1 Rachel Selby March 16, 2011 at 1:02 am

Why do you need down time before going to shul on Friday night – shul is down time. On the other hand, a Friday pm/Shabbat/Sunday weekend would leave us with only 24/4.5 of a working week. If this happens I’m starting a campaign for half-day Thursdays in order to prepare for Shabbat – only fair for the religious community and essential for anyone who wants to keep Shabbat properly!. And maybe a mid-week break like they have in schools, half-day Tuesday?

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