When I woke up in my room at the Dan Panorama I had totally forgotten it was Saturday, until I approached the elevator and saw this sign:
Dear Guests, during the Shabat this elevator will be operated by a “Shabat Goy”
For my non-Jewish readers, the Shabbat is the Jewish day of rest and takes place on a Saturday, more specifically from sunset on Friday evening until three stars appear in the sky on Saturday night.
Shabbat observance involves refraining from work activities and spending time with friends and family doing restful, rejuvenating things. ‘Work’ can cover all sorts of things like cooking, driving or switching electricity on/off and some Jewish people observe these rules very rigorously. Therefore a Shabbat goy is a non-Jewish person who performs certain types of work for a Jew on the Sabbath… such as operating the elevator.
Since it was my last day in Tel Aviv I decided to take a walk around the city, despite my realisation that most shops would probably be closed. It was strange to see hardly any cars on the roads and the Carmel market completely empty. Rothschild Boulevard however is busy and full of life on Shabbat. All the cafés have lines of people waiting outside, and people walk their dogs or ride their bikes down the pedestrian walkway. Everybody seems to have a cute dog in Tel Aviv, and since I am a dog lover, I just couldn’t stop taking photographs!
Here are some of the photos I took of Tel Aviv on Shabbat. My favourite is the “We Like You Too :)” sign painted on the side of a coffee stand!