What is the Sabbath, anyway? The holy day of rest? The first effort to protect the rights of workers? A smart way to manage stress in a world in which computers never get turned off and work never comes to an end? Or simply an oppressive, outmoded rite? In The Sabbath World, Judith Shulevitz explores the Jewish and Christian day of rest, from its origins in the ancient world to its complicated observance in the modern one. Braiding ideas together with memories, Shulevitz delves into the legends, history, and philosophy that have grown up around a custom that has lessons for all of us, not just the religious. The shared day of nonwork has built communities, sustained cultures, and connected us to the memory of our ancestors and to our better selves, but it has also aroused as much resentment as love. The Sabbath World tells this surprising story together with an account of Shulevitz’s own struggle to keep this difficult, rewarding day.
“The Sabbath World is not merely riveting, wise, and at times breathtakingly beautiful, it just might change your life.”—Jonathan Safran Foer
“Compassionate, revealing, and deeply personal . . . destined to become a classic.”—Bruce Feiler, author of Walking the Bible
“What a brilliant idea. . . . Part history, part meditation . . . The Sabbath offers a way to live outside of time, even for a day a week—an act not just of renewal but of resistance in an obsessively over-scheduled and over-networked world.”—Los Angeles Times
“An intense book and intensely engaging, one that as a reader I didn’t want to end.”—Chicago Tribune
“Every chapter of [The Sabbath World] is a wise and winsome meditation on yet another aspect of this inexhaustible topic. ... Shulevitz asks all the right questions.”—Christianity Today
“A book of richness and depth.”—The New York Times Book Review
“A swift, penetrating book intent on shattering the habits of mindless workaholism.”—The New Yorker