May 25, 2008
It is Sunday, May 25, here in Jerusalem. There are several surprising -- to an American or European -- aspects to the rhythm of life here. First, the work week is Sunday through Thursday. Shabbat is Saturday. Actually, it's a little more complicated than that. The Sabbath begins at sundown on Friday and ends with the appearance of three stars on Saturday. When one of the delightful receptionists at the Mishkenot Shaananim, where I'm staying, explained this to me and I asked, "What if there are clouds and you can't see the stars? And is this true everywhere or just three stars visible in Jerusalem?," she said, "Are you a law professor?" Ouch. There is, Alina, the receptionist, told me, a table available each week that tells when three stars would be viewable at any location in the world. Last night, it was at 8:12 pm in Jerusalem, slightly later in Tel Aviv.
This difference in the workweek takes a little getting used to. It's not just that the days are shifted; it's also that, at least in West Jerusalem, much of the city is closed up for Saturday. Restaurants, stores, kiosks, coffee shops -- all closed. And because of the restrictions on working on the Sabbath, the offerings at breakfast were different. For one thing, the waiter couldn't make coffee, which he normally does in a spectacularly good fashion. Instead, someone had laid out a jar of instant coffee, a quart of milk, and an urn of hot water, and we made our own coffee. I did find one restaurant open yesterday afternoon -- the 3 Arches Restaurant at the YMCA on King David Street. That imposing building is just across the street from the venerable King David Hotel. And the food, by the way, is good.
I'm off to class this afternoon at the Hebrew University. We're finishing our discussion of the economics of contract law today before beginning a section for the next week on some advanced new readings on the law and economics of contracts. I'll report on those readings in my next post.
May 25, 2008 | Permalink
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