Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Charedi World

29 Kislev 5760 - December 8, 1999 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly








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Council for Shabbos Founded in Haifa

by Arye Zisman

In the wake of the serious breach of Shabbos which has been occurring at the Grand Kanyon Mall in Haifa, a Public Council for Shabbos has been formed in Haifa. The Council is composed of rabbonim, public figures and activists from all circles of the city. It met last week to decide on steps to be taken in order to prevent additional Shabbos desecration in the city.

Members of the Council include the city's two chief rabbis as well as neighborhood rabbis, communal leaders, chairman of the Haifa Religious Council and members of the City Council. At the emergency meeting, the chief rabbis reviewed the Shabbos desecration taking place in various places in the city and discussed the opening of stores in the Grand Kanyon Mall. The mall borders on the Neve Shaanan and Hadar neighborhoods, which are populated by chareidi and religious residents.

The participants praised the strong stance of Mayor Amram Mitzna, who took legal steps to prevent the Shabbos desecration and did not hesitate to contend with Meretz and Shinui activists, who subsequently blamed him for yielding to the religious sector. Mitzna noted, "I won't let Shinui introduce a foul spirit into Haifa." These remarks drew admiring reactions from many sectors of the community, even non-religious ones.

In discussions with the rabbonim, the director of Grand Kanyon maintained that this had been a one-time occurrence. However from advertisements in the local newspapers, it seems possible that the Shabbos breaches might recur. As a result, the Shabbos Council decided to establish two committees. The first will meet with Mitzna, while the second will meet with the mall director. The goal is to remain on the alert and prevent additional breaches in the walls of Shabbos as well as to close existing ones.

The council has also decided to conduct a massive prayer and protest rally to be attended by city rabbonim and its residents, especially those living in Neve Shaanan, Hadar and Achuza which are near the new mall. In addition, it was decided to designate a "Shabbos for the Sake of Shabbos," during which all of neighborhood rabbonim would urge members of their synagogues to join the struggle for the city's Shabbos observance.

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