I am beginning to love our new Israeli weekends. The current convention is to treat Thursday as the last day of the working week so Friday becomes a lot like Saturday in most countries and Sunday becomes the first day of our work week.
Almost everything closes on Friday evening and Saturday which, of course, is שבת, the Jewish Sabbath. שבת becomes a forced break in many respects. Most shops are closed and it is very easy to take a complete break from everything.
I initially felt like a week with only one official rest day (שבת) would be a bit heavy going but the Israeli weekend has turned out to be even better than the regular Saturday + Sunday combo we were accustomed to.
Reason 1: kids are still in school
One of the unexpected bonuses is that kids are still in school on Friday mornings. They finish a little earlier but a Friday morning is a terrific opportunity to get shopping and other errands done without impatient and grumpy kids in tow.
Reason 2: grown-up time
Another benefit (mostly of kids being in school) is an opportunity for Gina and me to spend some time together after a pretty long week and very little quality time as a couple.
When you take into account our commutes to and from work (including taking kids to school on the way), our work days are easily 11 to 12 hours. A Friday morning is a perfect time to take things a little slower.
Reason 3: easing into the weekend
Friday’s feel like Saturday’s to me. Stores start to close in the early to mid afternoon and that’s about the time the kids start to relax after their long school week and lunch.
A perfect way to ease into the weekend is a walk to a nearby park (Modi’in has parks on virtually every corner) with some fruit, the kids, water and maybe even a book. With so many kids doing the same, our kids pretty much have a guaranteed play date whenever the weather is decent.
At the moment the sun starts to set around 16:30/17:00 so we head home to wind down a bit more before bath time and light candles before sitting down for our Shabbos meal. It nicely sets the tone for a very laid back Saturday before returning to work early on Sunday morning.
Our move to Israel has certainly involved more than a few changes. Our new Israeli weekends are one of the better changes, by far.