Chareidi Boycott Compels ‘Big Center’ Owners to Reconsider Chilul Shabbos


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bigA meeting was held in Los Angeles between the Pittsburg Rebbe Shlita and the Naftali brothers, the latter being the owners of the Big Center malls around Israel. The rebbe was told they are reevaluating the operations of stores in the company’s malls in light of the announced chareidi boycott of the centers nationwide. This was prompted by the decision that stores in the Ashdod mall will be operating on Shabbos despite objections from rabbonim and admorim.

The meeting was held late Thursday night, the eve of 19 Iyar at the rebbe’s location in Los Angeles. The Rebbe became aware the brothers were also visiting Los Angeles and he requested to meet with them. The rebbe is a resident of Ashdod and was visiting in LA. The rebbe reportedly spoke about the alarming Chilul Shabbos in Ashdod during the 90 minute meeting.

The owners of the malls explained they are not supportive of the Chilul Shabbos.

Rabbonim of the Vaad L’Maan Shabbos explain that while reports from Los Angeles are positive, the order to shut down on Shabbos has not been given, adding this Shabbos unfortunately was accompanied by Chilul Shabbos as was the case last week.

Vaad rabbonim are still trying to meet with Ashdod Mayor Dr. Yechiel Lasri towards compelling him to enforce the law and shut down stores operating on Shabbos.

(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)


  1. From an item on Arutz 7 on Monday 22 Iyar:

    The chairman of the Big shopping center chain, Yehuda Naftali, said that he was considering closing the center on Shabbat, but that nothing had been decided yet. He pointed out that numerous other businesses in and around Ashdod were open on Shabbat, and that if those businesses closed, he would certainly close his as well.

  2. I have mixed feelings about forcing not-yet-frum Jews to keep Shabbos. On the one hand, the mission to close shops in the name of Shabbos is commendable, especially if it leads to less chillul Shabbos. On the other hand, it probably won’t lead to less chillul Shabbos as many of these people will be mechallel Shabbos, and it makes it less likely for them to become frum if they feel the religious are forcing religion on them.

    The Charedim look down on the chilonim who “hate religion.” We treat them as villains, as evil. They’re racist and they’re out to get us. But honestly, when we force our lifestyle on them, can you blame them? We hate them for forcing their lifestyle on us but we expect them to respect us when we do the same to them? We can’t have it both ways, forcing halacha on them and then expect them to love and respect us.

  3. I think that the best way to bring not-yet-frum Jews closer to shabbos is to show them its beauty and that dracheha darchei no’am. It is impossible for me to believe that pushing these people to keep closed on shabbos (either by protesting on shabbos yelling “shabbos! shabbos!”, or by boycotting, or something else) will draw people closer to the ribono shel olam or to Torah and mitzvose. What good does this do? lo tzayis lei is already clear.

  4. The idea here is not to garner love and respect, the idea is to all we can to protest chilul Shabbos.
    Besides, in the long run, the chilonim need to see that we take Shabbos seriously. That is the foundation for the occasional hirhur teshuva. But if we don;’t take it seriously, they certainly won’t.

  5. Smarter- I understand, but there’s a clash. We’re defending Shabbos and we are fighting against public chillul Shabbos but we are pushing people away from Yiddishkeit. Not only are we pushing them away, but they are becoming more and more antagonistic towards us. And I think this is reflected in recent laws surrounding the IDF draft.

    And yes, the chilonim need to see we take Shabbos seriously. But I think they already see that based on the fact that we keep Shabbos. I think 99% of chilonim will say that Dati Leumim and Chareidim take Shabbos very seriously. I think you’re deluding yourself if you think that through protesting and legal action are the chilonim going to realize that we’re serious about Shabbos.

  6. What good does this do?

    it saves them from being mechalel shaboos befarhesya which is a grave sin. on every sin one is responsible and this prevents them from sinning.

  7. to #2 & 3

    there’s a famous ma’aseh with a gadol (sorry, forgot the name) who sat in front of someone’s store on shabbos so he would close his store

    that is called protesting

  8. We are not so much worried about the shmiras Shabbos of the store managers as that of their potential customers. A lot of “traditional” Jews, who are now keeping Shabbos might be tempted to go shopping on their only day off from work it the mall is open. And if this mall is open other businesses will follow under pressure from the competition. Also, anyone who is shomer shabbos won’t be able to get work at the mall.

  9. 3, One of the purposes of a boycott is to enable those who want to keep Shabbos to do so, it is very hard to run a profitable business when your competitor is open on the day everyone is off from work.

  10. While I don’t have a problem boycotting businesses open on Shabbos, I would like to see some outreach and positive education on why it’s so important.

    Just bullying people to do as we want will never solve anything.

  11. I would chuckle at some of the comments here except that they represent a gross misunderstanding of the reality of the situation.

    I scoff at the term “not yet frum.” It is so PC that it makes me want to pull the hair out of my beard. I realize it is a hopeful aphorism but it’s sort of like calling a career criminal “morally ambiguous.” He’s not “ambiguous” at all. He does have a “morality” — it’s just, simply, a DIFFERENT morality.

    The harsh reality is that the “not yet frum” are the products of 175 years of indoctrination that has created a “new” Jew — an ethnic-national identity of enlightened, modern, egalitarian liberals — as opposed to the “old” Jew, with his archaic, primitive, barbaric beliefs and practices. They have fallen under the influence of the Amalekites in our midst and the vast majority of them are, sadly, lost. They would rather pray — if they are inclined to pray at all — to a statue of some fat guy sitting with his legs crossed or to that other dead guy nailed to a piece of wood than submit themselves to the “barbaric” precepts of that “primitive” religion.

    While we must remain open to those few that do want to come back home (btw, I am one of them), we must wait patiently as HaShem deals with the others as He deems appropriate. As it is, they are slowly but surely assimilating and breeding themselves out of existence. In the meantime, we must remain steadfast and uncompromising in our adherence to the True Torah.

    This brings me to my next point which, judging from the posts here, similarly reflects what I find to be a warped perspective. No one is “forcing” (or trying to force) anyone to do anything. That argument is absurd. No one is standing in front of their stores with baseball bats running off customers etc. Just as they have the “right’ (r”l) to choose to be mechalel shabbos, we also have the right to choose with whom we do and do not do business. That includes the right to choose to NOT do business with someone who violates the shabbos and if they want our business then they are going to have to change. If they value being open shabbos more than they value our business then that is their choice but their right to choose does NOT abrogate OUR right to choose.

    B’ezras HaShem, may we choose properly

  12. I agree that the best way to bring not-yet-frum Jews closer to shabbos is to show them its beauty and that dracheha darchei no’am. Who better to do this than the holy Pittsburger Rebbe Shlita? I have seen him in Ashdod on a Shabbos calling over clearly non religious youth not to lecture them but just to ask them how they are, wish them a Gut Shabbos and give them a brocha – as well as of course inviting them to join him for a seudah. If anyone can talk clearly and non threateningly to the Naftali brothers, and impress them with his inner sincerity, it is the Pittsburger Rebbe.

  13. They can’t brag to the world about the ‘Jewish’ state. Judaism is a religion not a people or a nation. Fundamental to Judaism is observance of Shabbos, shabbos is the marker of Judaism. If the state is run is direct violation to Judiasm, it should drop the claim of being a Jewish state, which in turn takes away it’s credibility of being heirs to ‘the promised land’

  14. TheMir- I just want to correct to you there. Judaism is both a religion and a nation. As descendants of Avraham Avinu, we are a nation that was also given the responsibilities of the religion of the Judaism. Ideally, they go together. But they do not need to. A descendant of Avraham is a Jew whether he observes the religion or not.

    Christianity and Islam are pure religions. Their goal is to make every nation of the world part of their religion. Judaism on the other hand acknowledges that we are one of many nations.

  15. Simcha613:

    Yes, Judaism is both a religion and a nation… BOTH, not either or. They are inseparable. A goy cannot decide one day to just start following our religion on their own and actually be considered a Jew (despite what they may think). Similarly, a Jew who follows idols (or abrogates other certain parts of the covenant) is “cut off,” despite what HE may think.

    We learn from HaRav Elchonon Wasserman HY”D that today “isms” are the new form of idol worship. Ergo, a Jew who abandons the Torah and chases after whatever “ism” strikes their fancy (socialism, liberalism, nationalism, etc) is an ovdei avodah zarah and is “cut off from the tents of Yaakov.” And while a Jew can always return (and we prey that, with HaShem’s help, they will), so long as they remain an akum they are NOT one of us.

    Judaism is NOT a Chinese restaurant menu wherein you get to pick one from column “a” and one from column “b.” It’s a package deal. You don’t get to be a part of the “nation” without being a part of the “religion.”