Inspirational Stories

We Need a Rest, We Need Shabbat!

After 20 years of non-stop work, ‘Jordan River Rafting’ will be open 6 days a week and closed on Shabbat

testArray ( [type] => article [id] => 193344 [title] => We Need a Rest, We Need Shabbat! [short_text] => After 20 years of non-stop work, ‘Jordan River Rafting’ will be open 6 days a week and closed on Shabbat [content] => Everyone visiting Northern Israel has heard of Jordan River Rafting which was in business for the past 20 years. They get about 300,000 visitors annually mostly in the summer where people want to cool off and have a lot of fun. But now their entrance sign looks a bit different. There’s a message on it saying: “Dear Friends, after 20 years of uninterrupted work in the tourism industry we decided to make an honest and brave decision to stop working on Shabbat and Jewish holidays.”

Eran Gigi one of the owners of the rafting site said, “up to now most of our business came from Shabbat and holidays, our biggest profits were on those days. If on a weekday we could 2,000 visitors a day on Shabbat or a holiday we would get 4,000 visitors.

But even so the site owners brothers Eren and Yaniv Gigi decided to come out with a clear notice leaving no doubt that they will be closed on Shabbat and holidays. Since that decision, they close up on Friday noontime and go home knowing they will have a day of total rest: the rest you can get only from Shabbat.

“We understood that true rest can only be on Shabbat”

One moment, how did you decide to do this? Eren smiles and answers simply, “We wanted freedom. All week long we work really hard and we want to rest a bit.”

But Shabbat is your most profitable day! Couldn’t you have picked a weekday to rest on instead? “Well we also wanted to enjoy the resting of the Shabbat. We are traditional and we always lit candles on Friday night and made Kiddush. Shabbat was important to us and we understood that true rest would only come from the Shabbat.”

Eran continues candidly: “My brothers and I sat together 3 weeks ago and discussed that our work is very hard. We all have families and during the week we come home about 8:00 pm and hardly see our children. For example, I have 4 small children I almost don’t see. So we decided to take this decision upon ourselves. It wasn’t at all easy but the Shabbats we had since then were amazing. We had so much rest and quality time with our families, there’s nothing like it!”

Aren’t you worried about income loss?

“We know we did the right thing and believe that nothing bad can come from it. We’re also calculating that now more orthodox Jews will come since we keep Shabbat. It won’t make up for the thousands lost but it’s still something.”


Encouragement from everywhere

“Since we stopped working on Shabbat we’ve received great warm responses and inquiries from many people” Eran says. “They write great word of encouragement to us on Facebook and people always call up. All the reactions are positive and encourage us very much. One day we even went to Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky, to Rabbi Shalom Cohen and to more Rabbis who all blessed us for our brave decision. They all said we’re doing an important thing and that the Shabbat will watch over us.”

Do you feel you’re missing out on something?

Not at all! I must point out that so many other places not necessarily related to our business called us up and consulted with us about if they should also close their establishments on Shabbat. We told them everyone must make their own calculations but in general we warmly advised to keep Shabbat.”

“I told the pupils of a girl’s school that I keep Shabbat”

“Last week a school principal called. She has a school of a few hundred girls. She said that every Friday she goes on the PA system. But this time she heard about the courageous decision we made and wanted me to tell her students about it already on Sunday. She put me on the PA system and I told the girls about our decision to stop working in order to rest on Shabbat and be with my family. To do what a Jew should truly be doing on Shabbat. I spoke about it and I must say it also made me emotional too!”
 
 
 
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|כ"ב אייר התשע"ז | 18.05.17 | 14:36
We Need a Rest, We Need Shabbat!
Everyone visiting Northern Israel has heard of Jordan River Rafting which was in business for the past 20 years. They get about 300,000 visitors annually mostly in the summer where people want to cool off and have a lot of fun. But now their entrance sign looks a bit different. There’s a message on it saying: “Dear Friends, after 20 years of uninterrupted work in the tourism industry we decided to make an honest and brave decision to stop working on Shabbat and Jewish holidays.”

Eran Gigi one of the owners of the rafting site said, “up to now most of our business came from Shabbat and holidays, our biggest profits were on those days. If on a weekday we could 2,000 visitors a day on Shabbat or a holiday we would get 4,000 visitors.

But even so the site owners brothers Eren and Yaniv Gigi decided to come out with a clear notice leaving no doubt that they will be closed on Shabbat and holidays. Since that decision, they close up on Friday noontime and go home knowing they will have a day of total rest: the rest you can get only from Shabbat.

“We understood that true rest can only be on Shabbat”

One moment, how did you decide to do this? Eren smiles and answers simply, “We wanted freedom. All week long we work really hard and we want to rest a bit.”

But Shabbat is your most profitable day! Couldn’t you have picked a weekday to rest on instead? “Well we also wanted to enjoy the resting of the Shabbat. We are traditional and we always lit candles on Friday night and made Kiddush. Shabbat was important to us and we understood that true rest would only come from the Shabbat.”

Eran continues candidly: “My brothers and I sat together 3 weeks ago and discussed that our work is very hard. We all have families and during the week we come home about 8:00 pm and hardly see our children. For example, I have 4 small children I almost don’t see. So we decided to take this decision upon ourselves. It wasn’t at all easy but the Shabbats we had since then were amazing. We had so much rest and quality time with our families, there’s nothing like it!”

Aren’t you worried about income loss?

“We know we did the right thing and believe that nothing bad can come from it. We’re also calculating that now more orthodox Jews will come since we keep Shabbat. It won’t make up for the thousands lost but it’s still something.”


Encouragement from everywhere

“Since we stopped working on Shabbat we’ve received great warm responses and inquiries from many people” Eran says. “They write great word of encouragement to us on Facebook and people always call up. All the reactions are positive and encourage us very much. One day we even went to Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky, to Rabbi Shalom Cohen and to more Rabbis who all blessed us for our brave decision. They all said we’re doing an important thing and that the Shabbat will watch over us.”

Do you feel you’re missing out on something?

Not at all! I must point out that so many other places not necessarily related to our business called us up and consulted with us about if they should also close their establishments on Shabbat. We told them everyone must make their own calculations but in general we warmly advised to keep Shabbat.”

“I told the pupils of a girl’s school that I keep Shabbat”

“Last week a school principal called. She has a school of a few hundred girls. She said that every Friday she goes on the PA system. But this time she heard about the courageous decision we made and wanted me to tell her students about it already on Sunday. She put me on the PA system and I told the girls about our decision to stop working in order to rest on Shabbat and be with my family. To do what a Jew should truly be doing on Shabbat. I spoke about it and I must say it also made me emotional too!”
 
 
 
 
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