Tevi Troy on Shabbat, its blessings and demands


Tevi Troy, an adviser to Mitt Romney’s campaign who was among other things President George W. Bush’s deputy health secretary, explains in the Washington Jewish Week why for an observant Jew, 24/6 meant 24/6.

It’s a template for Jewish public service, whatever your religious observance: Be true to yourself.

He describes a Katrina-era consultation with Rabbi Levi Shemtov, who directs American Friends of Lubavitch, and who laid out three reasons for keeping the Sabbath, despite the crisis.

Shemtov first explains that Troy’s contribution would not constitute "pikuach nefesh" — Troy would not be saving lives. He concludes by noting that one’s colleagues respect you for maintaining observance.

The second point was about personal example:

Second, he said, as a prominent shomer Shabbat Jew, you are a symbol to other observant Jews in Washington. If you work on Shabbat, even in this case, their bosses might tell them that they have to work on Shabbat as well. So working on Shabbat, even in these circumstances, would put other observant Jews in a difficult position.

Recommended from JTA